How to Apply for a Hemp License in Illinois

Updated: 05/05/2019

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp (cannabis with less than 0.3% THC) and its derivatives, including CBD, nationwide. It allows and requires states to create their own regulation regarding hemp cultivation, processing, transportation, etc.

In Illinois, the hemp program was launched on May 1, 2019. See the final Illinois hemp rules.

What you will need to apply for a hemp cultivation license:

1. The name and address of the person or entity applying for the cultivation license
2. The type of business or organization, such as corporation, LLC, partnership, sole proprietor
3. Business name and address if different than 1), above
4. The legal description of the land area, including Global Positioning System coordinates of each Contiguous Land Area, to be used to cultivate industrial hemp
5. A map of the Land Area on which the applicant plans to grow industrial hemp, showing the boundaries and dimensions of the growing area in acres or square feet
6. $100 application fee ($1000 for a three year license; $700 for a two year license; and$375 for a one year license)
7. The variety(ies) of Industrial Hemp that are intended for cultivation

What you will need to apply for a hemp processing license:

1. The name and address of the person or entity applying for the processor registration
2. The business type such as a corporation, LLC, partnership, sole proprietor, etc.
3. The business name and address if different than 1) above
4. The nature of the processing by the registrant
5. $100 application fee ($1,000 license fee if approved)

Other notes: The license fees are for each non-contiguous land area and each indoor cultivation operation. Applicants will be subject to a criminal background check. No person who has been convicted of any controlled substances related felony, in the previous ten (10) years from the date of the application will be eligible to obtain a license. You can modify and change your license later on without any additional fees.

 View the hemp regulation guide by Illinois Stewardship Alliance.



Illinois is currently finalizing its rules after a 45-day public comment period. In another 45 days, the Illinois Department of Agriculture must release the final rules to be submitted to the USDA for approval.

Some of the main issues/restrictions in the proposed rules include:

  • a 90 day waiting period from the time you submit your application to planting seed
  • for outdoor cultivation, the land area must be a farm as defined in Section 1-60 of the Property Tax Code (no such requirement for indoor cultivation)
  • separate licenses for handlers/processors and cultivators. You would need to submit two applications if both are desired.
  • seeds must be AOSCA certified, which is perhaps the biggest setback for growing CBD-rich varieties this year

Once the Illinois Department of Agriculture finalizes their rules and submits them to USDA, the USDA has up to 90 days to review and approve.

See the proposed IL hemp rules.