Illinois Hemp Bill passes Senate unanimously

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) — Hemp farming is one step closer to being a reality in Illinois.

The Illinois House passed a bill legalizing the practice Wednesday 106-3.

That’s good news for hemp chef Aaron Lindgren.

“I use it in ice cream, cookies, crackers [and] bread,” Lindgren said. “It’ has a really incredible like nutty, kind of like a popcorn flavor.”

Illinois farms grew acres on acres of hemp to help produce ropes for the U.S. Navy in World War II. But the crop is not tied down to just one product.

“You’ll see a lot of fabrics made out of it,” said Dan Linn, executive director of NORML Illinois, a cannabis advocacy group. “You’ll see a lot of seed products in the health food stores — soaps, oils [and] lotions…It doesn’t require the same amount of inputs that traditional grow crops do like corn or soy.”

So what’s the big difference between marijuana and hemp?

Although they look similar and are from the same cannabis plant family, hemp doesn’t produce any of the psychoactive effects of marijuana.

You can buy hemp products in Illinois — you just can’t grow the plant here — something Lindgren hopes changes soon.

“I would love to buy locally,” he said. “That’s my overall goal as a business.”