The federal government doesn’t appear ready to deal with the lingering legal questions of marijuana, but hemp is another matter.
Kevin Liebrock, chief operating officer at Bluebird Botanicals in Colorado, said the federal farm bill, will in all likelihood, legalize hemp as a cash crop.
“When you have someone like U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, who has been a die-hard conservative for a long time, and he’s supporting hemp,” Liebrock said. “I think that shows we’ve reached a tipping point for sure.”
Lex Pelger, chief science officer with Bluebird, said hemp can be used in everything from clothing to fiber. But he said the market for growth will be cannabidiol oil. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is extract that has been used to treat seizures, pain and other things.
Pelger said CBD oil is already available in most states, including Illinois. But because it’s associated with marijuana there is a stigma.
Hemp CBD, he said, could change that.
“If you’re trying to introduce this into places that haven’t had an experience with cannabis, and are really scared of it,” Pelger explained. “Hemp is a really great way to get started.”
Pelger said hemp CBD and marijuana-based CBD are almost identical. In fact, he said hemp CBD may provide more benefits for treating seizures and other medical conditions.
Illinois just legalized CBD for use in schools, but it must be administered by a parent.