Board asks state for legalized hemp

By Nina Gougis

A Wednesday decision by the DeKalb County Board could make it easier for DeKalb farmers to grow industrial hemp.

The voted to ask the state to allow growth of industrial hemp for research.

Hemp, a member of the cannabis family and a relative of marijuana, could increase crop productivity by replacing depleted nitrogen in the soil caused by lack of crop rotation, according to the Hemp Industries Association Web site.

The plant also has a wide variety of uses, including the production of paper, clothing, foods and body-care products.

Board Chairman Dennis Sands was the only member to object to the resolution. He said he is concerned that hemp will be mixed with bags of marijuana and used as drug because it contains tetrahydracannibinol, THC.

“I believe that any board should not be promoting illegal substances,” Sands said.

Board member Julia Fauci argued that hemp does not contain enough psychoactive ingredients to create a drug-like effect.

The growth of hemp is illegal in Illinois. If approved by the state, the University of Illinois would be allowed to grow the crop for research.