Hemp farms are starting to pop up in the Wabash Valley

Hemp farms are starting to make their way to the Wabash Valley.

Posted: Oct 22, 2019 11:17 PM

PARIS, Ill. (WTHI) -- It just recently became legal in all 50 states to grow hemp after the 2018 Farm Bill was passed. But, each state has to come up with its own rules and regulations. Illinois has done just that.

Now hemp farms are starting to become popular.

Driving through rural Indiana and Illinois right now you see a lot of farmers out harvesting their crops. But, you might not expect this kind of farming.

"This is my harvest of hemp this year we had a 5-acre plot of a farm and this is pretty much what we got off of it," Eli Wiley, a hemp farmer said. 

Wiley grew up in Paris Illinois. For 4 years of his life, he worked with hemp farmers in Colorado. Until they made it legal to grow hemp in Illinois.

"Out there is when I really started to understand what it was and how it was really going to change the farmscape type of deal," he said.

But hemp is not marijuana. Hemp is used in making CBD products or other things like clothes. For Wiley, he plans to use a lot of his hemp to make CBD products and distribute them to local stores.

He also wants to help others in the area get started farming.

"I'm looking to expand. I'm looking to help people expand. Looking to help people get into," Wiley said. 

It's a new type of farming, but Wiley said the new industry comes with some obstacles.

"There's still a lot of farming challenges. Every farm has a challenge. Every farmer has different challenges," Wiley said. "You never know what the years going to bring you. You never know what you're going to have to go through."

Starting in January recreational marijuana will become legal in the state of Illinois. There are however different regulations regarding growing the two plants. 

Hemp does not contain THC. That's the ingredient that gets you high. While growing hemp is legal if you're licensed, only medical marijuana patients can grow the plant.

They can only grow up to five plants at a time. Only 20 existing licensed medical marijuana facilities will be able to grow the plant initially in Illinois.

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