Not only is hemp flower in Illinois legal, but its near-and-dear cousin, marijuana is legal too. Both of these plants belong to the cannabis family, and therefore their histories are inextricably linked.
The first major milestone in legalization traces back to January 1, 2014. This was the day Illinois’ Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program became effective. Those with qualifying medical conditions could get a doctor’s recommendation and go to dispensaries to buy their cannabis medicine. A few years later in 2016, the state decriminalized marijuana. This meant that anyone who was “caught” with 30 grams of cannabis or less would not face jail time, nor pay a fine.
Passing this law created beneficial secondary effects. Illinois residents who had a criminal record due to marijuana possession could have their records expunged. So long as the amount they were arrested for was less than 30 grams (approximately 1 ounce).
Not only was this law monumental from a moral standpoint, but it also impacted the lives of over 800,000 people who got the chance to clear their record.
As you can tell, Illinois has progressive policies when it comes to marijuana. But where exactly do they stand on hemp? Let’s get into that now.
What are the Illinois hemp laws?
On August 26, 2018, Illinois’ Industrial Hemp Act (SB2298) went into effect. By signing this law into existence, it meant farmers, universities and the Department of Agriculture could grow hemp for research and commercial purposes. Also, on this date, the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDA) had the task and responsibility to develop a hemp program that would need approval by the USDA.
Once they received approval, the IDA opened up the application process to interested parties. This took place during the beginning of 2019, right in time for that years’ growing season.
The IDA is the governing body in charge of issuing hemp growing and processing licenses. Those who want to grow hemp must apply by filling out an application and paying a $100 fee. If approved, they’re given a license to legally grow hemp in the state of Illinois.
Once approved for a license, the Illinois Department of Agriculture can test a farmer’s crops at random. Either the department, a third-party, or an accredited lab will test the plants’ THC levels. To comply with state and federal laws, the amount of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) must be less than 0.3%.
Is CBD legal in Illinois?
Yes, CBD is legal in Illinois. This is true whether the CBD derives from industrial hemp or from marijuana. Since recreational cannabis use is legal there’s no restriction in this area. As long as you are over 21 years old, you can legally consume CBD from either plant.
Is hemp flower legal?
According to the Illinois Industrial Hemp Program, “hemp flower can’t be sold to dispensaries.” It further goes on to say that hemp plants must be extracted, and the oil can get sold as CBD oil or infused into other hemp-based products.
Even though the state law doesn’t allow the sale of hemp flower to dispensaries, you can still buy some. But for now, you’ll have to shop online for premium hemp flower.
Can you smoke CBD buds?
Yes, one of the main ways to consume CBD buds is to smoke them. But, it’s not the only way. Some people like to buy hemp flower so they can make their own CBD oil. With that oil, they can supplement with it on its own or use some of the oil in baking or skincare recipes. It’s also very possible and easy to make CBD hemp tea from the buds.
If you do buy hemp buds to smoke you can buy a grinder, rolling papers, filters to make your own CBD joint. Or grind up the flower and put some in your pipe or water bond. Another way to reap the benefits of CBD hemp flower is to vape it, using a vaporizer that’s compatible with dry herb.
When you vape hemp buds, rather than smoke them, the flavor is more apparent and rich. That’s because the terpenes in the flower, which are the molecules that make the nugs smell incredible, retain their potency. This point is something to consider if you’re on the fence about smoking a hemp joint or investing in a vaporizer for smoother and tastier sessions.
What does smoking hemp flower do for you?
Smoking hemp flower is the quickest way to feel the effects of CBD. The delivery method of inhalation gets the beneficial compounds into your system within seconds to minutes. This is why smoking is a preferred way to use hemp flower. Those who want to feel the effects immediately turn to their joint, or a pack of CBD pre-rolls.
Also, there are more perks to smoking CBD nugs, in the therapeutic sense. To find out more about them, read some studies on the benefits of CBD.
Do you get high off CBD flower?
If the CBD flower you’re referring to came from the hemp plant, then there will be less than 0.3% THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis. That is a tiny, minuscule concentration, meaning it’s very difficult to get high smoking hemp buds.
However, if you’re at a medical marijuana dispensary in Illinois and buy flower with 2% CBD and 10% THC, for example, then there’s a strong likelihood of feeling intoxicated when smoking this bud.
When it comes to getting high, it all depends on the individual. Everyone has a unique biochemistry and set of health conditions, which all determine how we each respond to the effects of THC.
So, in a specific sense, it’s hard to give an answer that applies to everyone. But, in the general sense of the question, looking at the percentage of THC can help you answer this question for yourself. For context, 1% THC or less is very low. And a percentage above 20% is high.
How to buy CBD flower online?
After talking about the legality of hemp flower in Illinois, it’s time to give you some buying tips. Since growers and processors can’t sell hemp flower to dispensaries, you might not find any at the corner store or your local smoke shop either.
However, there are many reputable CBD companies selling organic CBD nugs online. If you prefer online shopping in general, then buying your hemp flower online will feel very natural.
Like your other buying decisions, research is key. And it’s usually the first step you take. To find great quality hemp flower, you first need to find a high caliber company that sells it.
To do that, learn all you can about the company. Read their mission statement, find out their “why,” read their responses to customer testimonials, and visit their social media pages. Then ask yourself, “Do I connect with this company?
If the answer is yes, start phase two of your research. See where the company sources its hemp flower. Find out where the hemp’s grown, how it’s grown, how they cure the dried buds, and so forth. Doing this investigative work will tell you a lot about the quality of the CBD flower. The more details provided in this area, the better.
Read the COA
Next, it’s in your best interest to read the COA or the Certificate of Analysis. This document records the results of lab testing. Usually, the company posts this third-party lab report on its website. It gives you a chance to see how the testing went and get an extra level of assurance that the product is what it claims to be.
The test you’ll likely see on the COA is called the Cannabinoid Analysis. It tells you the CBD percentage as well as the percentages of any other cannabinoid, like delta-9 THC, CBG, CBC, CBN, etc in the hemp flower. Without this test, it’s impossible to know for sure what these levels are.
Illinois is a 100% green state with regard to cannabis. It has an Industrial Hemp Program that issues licenses to qualified applicants who want to grow or process hemp.
Also, the state has had a medical cannabis program in place since 2014. They decriminalized marijuana in 2016 and passed a recreational cannabis use program during the middle of 2019.
Within this short time frame, much progress was made. And that makes acceptance and appreciation for the magical plant, at an all-time high. Something all us hemp fans can appreciate.