Medical marijuana will soon be legal in Illinois, but the state has yet to approve theuses of hemp growing and production of industrial hemp.

There are many uses of hemp, and in Colorado and Kentucky its benefits are being recognized for its value in a potentially growing global market. 

Industrial hemp was grown by farmers in Illinois during WWII, to assist the war effort by producing hemp rope, clothing and tents. But after the war the restrictions returned, and the industry of hemp was shut down.

In other countries the production of hemp continued. In Europe they discovered other uses for hemp fibres besides clothing, such as a composite for automobile door panels.

Hemp has immense economic potential. Eric Steenstra, president of Vote Hemp, a group in Vermont who want the United States to embrace the production of industrial hemp, says the hemp industry could potentially produce $500 million in annual retail sales. He stated that the nutritional benefits of the seed have opened up that market, with protein powders, soaps and lotions.

Matt Engelmann, director of sales and marketing for the Chicago-based American Lime Technology, said there is much to gain from the uses of hemp. American Lime Technology makes for building materials for home construction, and many of them contain hemp. The company markets hemcrete which is a hemp-based building material with good insulation properties.

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