Under the 2014 and 2018 Farm Bills, farmers, universities, and the Illinois DOAmay grow hemp with some restrictions. Additionally, state law mandates that there be a research component to hemp cultivation and requires that all of those involved gain licensing.
Illinois Hemp Cultivation Laws
State law requires that all individuals and entities engaged in hemp production, processing, and distribution obtain the correct licenses from the DOA.
The State requires a minimum of a one-quarter acre of contiguous outdoor land for growing hemp. Alternatively, growers must utilize at least 500 square feet of indoor or greenhouse growing space.
Each applicant must submit the following information:
Name and address of the person or entity applying for the cultivation license
Business or organization type, such as a corporation, LLC, partnership, or sole proprietorship
Legal description and map of the land area, including GPS coordinates of each contiguous land area, used to cultivate industrial hemp
Varieties of hemp the grower will cultivate
Individuals convicted of any controlled substances felony up to a decade before the application date are eligible for a license. Licenses are valid for three years from the date of issuance.
Sampling and Testing Requirements To Grow Hemp in Illinois
All licensees are subject to inspections at the discretion of the Department of Agriculture. The Department will provide a minimum of five days advance notice and will inform the license holder of the scope and process of the inspection.
Licensees or their agents must be present to provide the inspector full access to the plant, all products under cultivation or harvested, as well as all structures used in this process and all documents obtained for permission.
All hemp products are subject to sampling. There are currently four specially approved labs for the testing of hemp in the State. Entities must also prove they are accredited under ISO 17025 regulations to qualify as a testing lab. To be eligible for becoming a hemp lab, licensees must fill out the Hemp Lab Application Approval Form.
Licensing Procedures To Grow Hemp In Illinois
Applicants must apply to grow hemp in Illinois online. The application must also accompany a non-refundable application fee of $100. They may also submit a license fee to cover up to three years. These fees range from $375 for a one-year license to $1,000 for a three-year permit.
Use of Pesticides When Growing Hemp In Illinois
The use of pesticides, including special use pesticides, is highly regulated in Illinois. Visit their website for a list of required forms, including plans for storage on-site, containment, ground-water safety, and problematic pesticide reporting.
How To Report on Growing Hemp in Illinois
Licensees must submit a Hemp Harvest Notification at least thirty days before harvest. The notification must include estimates regarding the date, location, and varieties of hemp to harvest. Licenses must submit in writing any change to harvest dates that exceed five days.
Each licensee must also submit a Hemp Cultivator Final Report no later than February 1 of each year. The report must include the total area under cultivation, a description of each variety, the total acres harvested, and the overall yield.
Certifying and Buying Illinois Feminized Hemp Seeds
Licensed hemp cultivators are solely responsible for obtaining CBD seeds, clones, transplants, or propagules for planting. Licensed hemp growers in Illinois must use only qualified hemp seed distributors with updated COAs and a history of success. Though hemp seed vendors must have proper licensing, it is the buyer’s responsibility to ensure compliant hemp seed purchases.