SPRINGFIELD, IL — A bill that would allow hemp to be grown legally in Illinois could allow medical marijuana growers to expand their customer base. Legislation currently pending in the Illinois General assembly could address a lack of regulation on hemp-based products while allowing medical marijuana growers to expand their pool of around 25,000 certified users to the general public, Ross Morreale, chairman of the Medical Cannabis Alliance of Illinois, told the Chicago Tribune.
While medical marijuana dispensaries in Illinois are heavily regulated, adults statewide can buy, sell and use hemp-based products. From massage oils to e-cigarettes, the hemp industry is growing, offering projects that manufacturers say offer benefits but little to no THC, the ingredient in marijuana that gets users high.
The Medical Cannabis Alliance of Illinois wants medical marijuana growers and sellers to be able to benefit from the popularity of products containing CBD, or cannabidiol, according to the Tribune. “Dispensaries should be allowed to sell CBD products to the public,” Morreale said. “Then we can deliver hemp CBD in a responsible way,” since CBD products would be subjected to the same regulations as medical marijuana.
The safety and legality of using hemp- or marijuana-based products to treat medical conditions and symptoms is still up for debate. The FDA says it has not approved marijuana for medical uses, and over the last two years, it sent 14 warning letters to companies that market unapproved drugs that allegedly contain CBD. “FDA has tested these products, and many were found to not contain the levels of CBD they claimed to contain,” the FDA said. “It is important to note that these products are not approved by FDA for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of any disease.”
But in clinical trials, CBD has helped decrease seizures in children with epilepsy,