State reports first-year hemp production totals

Illinois farmers produced 2.3 million pounds (1 million kilograms) of industrial hemp in the first year of legal cultivation in decades, state officials said.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture began issuing hemp-production permits last spring after production was legalized. Of 651 licenses granted, 514 planted at least one acre. Nearly three-quarters of the acreage planted was harvested.

Hemp is related to marijuana and even though the psychoactive chemical THC is much lower than it is in marijuana, hemp was illegal from the 1940s until Illinois legalized it in 2018.

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