Ford favors legalization of hemp for commercial use
Among the hotly debated issues in the past few years is the question of whether to relax laws on the use of marijuana, which has led to states such as California legalizing the recreational use of marijuana recently.
The related topic of hemp has been debated as well, as this plant, though related to marijuana – being of the Cannabis Sativa L. species – is being considered for uses that are entirely different.
Long touted for its wide array of uses, hemp is being pushed by the Illinois Farm Bureau, with an emphasis being put on its potential if it were industrialized.
Rep. La Shawn Ford (D-Chicago) believes that hemp is a valuable resource that should be explored more in relation to practical applications.
"Illinois approved hemp for studies at the universities in 2014, which I think was a good first step in learning whether there are dangers to having this produced for commercial usage," Ford told Chicago City Wire. "Hemp can be used for many things like fiber, paper; industrial hemp can be used to produce construction and insulation materials, cosmetics and plastic composites. Hemp seed and hemp oil can be used in a variety of foods, such as granola. All of which are natural and a greener way to go."
Ford feels that farmers would benefit greatly from the legalization of commercial hemp, thanks to its many uses and the demand for products it could be used to make.
"The No. 1 concern is that this product has some level of THC, which is also in marijuana," Ford said. "The problem that I have is in today's drug society would this just become another opportunity for the drug market to enhance the effects of hemp, making it more of a street drug and less about legal purposes it is intended for."
Time will tell whether the legalization of commercial hemp will come to pass, but there would still be considerations to take if it were.
"There must be strong regulation, licensing requirements, restrictions, and penalties for anyone licensed to produce the product," Ford said.