Marijuana has been in the decriminalization process since 1973 with many states over the years passing laws to either authorize the use of marijuana or prohibit it. It is time to stop treating marijuana like a deadly drug, when science and public opinion agree that it is relatively safe for adult recreational and medical use. With recreational and medical marijuana on the verge of nationwide legalization, marijuana growers and dispensaries and grow facilities popping up everywhere.

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A Michigan company is seeking to create what its calling “the world’s largest indoor premium hemp facility” in Putnam County.

Red White & Bloom (RWB) is acquiring a 3.6 million square foot greenhouse in Granville. The ColorPoint greenhouse has a hemp growing license and hemp processing license from the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

RWB said it plans to produce hemp CBD and CBD-derived and products. RWB started a similar facility in Canada.

The facility currently has 175 full-time employees, and over 400 in the peak season. The Chicago-based Brightfield Group estimates the hemp-CBD market alone could reach $22 billion in profits by 2022.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture began accepting applications for industrial hemp growth and processing on April 30. Six hundred sixty-seven applications to grow hemp have been submitted to the Illinois Department of Agriculture, and 434 have been approved. Eighty-nine processors are also approved.

Illinois is also in the process of legalizing cannabis for recreational usage. The Illinois Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would legalize the possession of up to 30 grams of flower, five grams of concentrate or 500 milligrams of THC in a cannabis-infused product for Illinois residents age 21 and older. Action is expected on the bill in the House this week, and Gov. J.B. Pritzker is expected to sign the legislation.

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