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Update on Public Hearing

Updated: Mar 10

The Illinois Hemp Grower's Association was out in Springfield yesterday for the Public Hearing on hemp regarding the rules and regulations that were proposed on December 28th, 2018.

Our CEO Rachel read a 3 minute comment aloud to the panel of Illinois Department of Agriculture officials including the Director John M. Sullivan and Jeff Cox, who will oversee licensing and regulation of the program for the IDOA. Click here to see video from the public hearing.

There was a positive response to the volume of public comments from the panel and in the audience, which was a crowd of roughly 100 people. The turnout and enthusiasm from the the public made this hearing something to remember for everyone involved.

An important part of what was communicated at the hearing was that the IDOA recognizes that there are inconsistencies within the rules that do not match what federal rules say. The rules proposed by the IDOA were submitted before the federal rules became law so the inconsistency is likely to be eliminated in a future version of Illinois rules. This is a positive step forward that makes good sense.

For one thing, it means they will likely be changing the language of the denial of license eligibility from people who have all felonies, drug related misdemeanors, and crimes of dishonesty for 5 years, to match the federal rules which only deny eligibility to those who have controlled substance related felonies for 10.

Even though the duration of time is increased in the federal rules, it is very specific to controlled substance related felonies. The current language in Illinois' proposed rules actually excludes many more people.

Furthermore if the IDOA takes another pass at the federal rules with the public comments as guidelines, they can reasonably and legally make any changes needed to accommodate the suggestions made at the public hearing.

There is still time for you to submit your own public comment! Until February 11th, 2019, you can submit public comments to the Illinois Department of Agriculture. This is also a good time to get in touch with your state representatives and tell them to support the changes suggested at public hearing on February 5th, 2019.

Tell your reps to support establishing a better regulatory framework for Illinois hemp including:

1. Single year licenses, graduated initial fee structure

2. Less restrictions for people with criminal backgrounds

3. Allowing land to be used for hemp that doesn’t classify a farm per the tax code, introducing urban agricultural zones

4. Broadly inclusive language recommended by the Director of the IDOA for approved sample testing entities and equipment

5. Alternatives to destruction of hemp that tests higher than 0.3% THC

Click here to find your representative in the Illinois House

Click here to find your representative in the Illinois Senate

We have a presentation and license workshop scheduled for February 9th, 2019. Although we expect there may be some changes to the license and application process, there are still many things we know for certain we will need to complete our licenses. We will work together until you're confident that you are prepared to complete an application as soon as they are issued.

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