The debate regarding legal pot aside, we are missing the boat by failing to fully commercialize and benefit from widespread growing of hemp, a plant that has no psychoactive component as marijuana.
Hemp can be made into high grade paper. It can also be made into cardboard and used for all common purposes, including as packaging materials. It can be used to create plywood and lumber substitutes superior to what we now use. Hemp can be turned into clothing, bioplastics, insulation. Grown as a biofuel, it requires little in the way of the insecticides and herbicides required to produce ethanol. This would have big implications for our water supply.
There are also known medical uses for the CBD (cannabidiol) oil. It has approximately 300 compounds, compounds in addition to CBD that we know virtually nothing about and potentially have medical uses. Research facilities here in the state could be used for that purpose. The spin-off industries required to grow, harvest and process hemp into useful commercial products would produce an untold number of jobs. Combined, all of these uses dwarf the economic benefits to this state that we would see from legalized pot.
Make Illinois great again. Grow hemp and create industries, jobs and products to benefit from this plant.
Darrell Schapmire, Minier