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Legislation would allow more government oversight on hemp products

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(The Center Square) – Some Illinois lawmakers want to place more regulations on the hemp industry in the state.

State Rep. La Shawn Ford, D-Chicago, and state Sen. Lakesia Collins, D-Chicago, are pushing a pair of bills, House Bill 4193 and Senate Bill 3790, that would restrict the sale of Delta-8 products to anyone under 21, along with taxing the products and creating a new class of state licenses for hemp businesses.

At a news conference Tuesday, Ford said the measures will address several issues.

“One, we have an unregulated drug that is being sold in the state of Illinois,” said Ford “Two, there is no law in Illinois to restrict the sale of this drug to minors, and three, Illinois needs more revenue.”

Illinois cannabis industry groups have been pushing for more regulation of synthetic intoxicants like Delta-8 and Delta-10.

The hemp industry and Illinois lawmakers have been in discussions on how to better regulate the sale of hemp products. Ford emphasized to those involved in the hemp industry that they are not trying to shut their businesses down.

“While we want strong regulation, we don’t want to kill a multi-billion dollar industry in Illinois that employs thousands of people throughout our state,” said Ford.

Todd Harris, CEO and cofounder of the company that makes the hemp-infused beverage Plift, said a collaboration with industry leaders and lawmakers is key.

“To responsibly regulate our industry and provide a pathway for reasonable taxation and us to be contributors to the state of Illinois,” said Harris.

The 2018 Farm Bill made the distribution and sale of hemp and its byproducts legal around the country.