Industrial Hemp

 Industrial Hemp

View the February 23, 2021 Virtual Hemp Summit


What is Hemp

Hemp, or industrial hemp, is a variety of the cannabis sativa plant. While hemp and cannabis both derive from the cannabis sativa species and contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), hemp and cannabis are distinct strains with different compositions and uses. Hemp can be made into a variety of items, including clothing, paper, animal feed, and textiles.


Illinois Hemp: The History

In 2015, the Industrial Hemp Pilot Program became effective in Illinois law. This statute allowed for researchers and institutions of higher education to grow hemp for educational and research purposes. This Pilot Program was allowed under the 2014 Federal Farm Bill. The Illinois Department of Agriculture also promulgated Rules related to this program, which can be found at 8 IAC 1100.


In August 2018, the Industrial Hemp Act became effective in Illinois. This Act expanded the growing and processing of hemp outside of higher education and researchers, and allowed for farmers and others to plant and process hemp in Illinois. The Illinois Department of Agriculture's Rules on that program can be found at 8 IAC 1200. Those Rules became effective in April 2019.


The Federal Government and Hemp

In December of 2018, the 2018 Federal Farm Bill (also called the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018) was passed by the United States Congress. This Bill created the Domestic Hemp Production Program, which allowed for hemp to be grown outside of a research setting. Under the 2018 Farm Bill, states are required to either submit their hemp plans for approval to USDA or allow USDA to directly regulate hemp in that state.


In November 2019, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued an Interim Final Rule, which contained rules and regulations intended to be in effect until final regulations are issued. However, Congress extended the federal government's industrial hemp pilot program, from the 2014 Farm Bill, through September 30, 2021. This will keep states existing hemp plans in place for the time being. Final rules are expected to be promulgated sometime in 2021.  Those rules, like the Interim Final Rule, are expected to contain many requirements for State Hemp Plans, which will ultimately impact Illinois' Administrative Rules for its Industrial Hemp Program.

 Please click here for the USDA's position on seed importation: Seed Importation Update from the USDA


Illinois Hemp Updates and Current Status

USDA recently approved the Illinois Department of Agriculture's (IDOA) Hemp Plan. Following the plan approval, the next step is for IDOA to  begin working on administrative rule changes, which will follow the process outlined by the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules and the Illinois Administrative Procedure Act.
Accordingly, IDOA will continue with current testing protocols for Delta-9 THC for all crops harvested in the 2020 season, and will not be implementing the testing of total THC (included THCa) that is included in the 2018 Farm Bill. IDOA will continue the random sampling program under existing rules.


Additional Policies and Guidelines 

Updated 2020-2021: Policy Regarding Hemp and Hemp Derivatives in Medical and Adult-Use Cannabis Products 

Guidelines on Hemp in Animal Food

Frequently Asked Questions


Forms and Applications

Hemp Harvest Notification Form

Industrial Hemp Applications and 2020 Renewals 

Lab Certification Application Form


Department Approved Testing Laboratories:

ACT Laboratories, Morton, IL:  (517)278-9333 

Advanced Herbal Analytics, LLC, Carbondale, IL:  (618)503-0217

Deibel Bioscience of Illinois, LLC, Lincolnwood, IL: (847) 329-9900

Grace Analytical Laboratory, Inc., Berkeley, IL:  (708)449-9449

LK PureLabs, LLC, Sparta & Monticello, IL:  (618)443-6685

Origo Labs, LLC, Chicago, IL:   (440) 391-2007