A budding crop: Growing cannabis is labor-intensive, expensive to start, but doable – Champaign/Urbana News

Farmers and drug-enforcement agents spent decades trying to rid Illinois fields of cannabis, considered both a noxious weed and an illegal plant.

But the star-shaped “cannabis sativa” is making the transition to commercial crop, now that the state has legalized hemp production and both medical and recreational marijuana use.

Just how easy is it to grow?

Cannabis can proliferate like a weed, but producing the THC-rich flowers favored by marijuana users can be “very challenging,” according to Dan Linn, executive director of the Illinois chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. “There is a little bit of a learning curve to it.”

Likewise, growing industrial hemp is “not rocket science, but it takes a lot of effort and time and commitment,” said Andy Houston, a northwestern Illinois hemp producer and CEO of American Hemp Research. “It’s a lot more labor-intensive than most conventional farming is around here.”

First, a bit of

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