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Bill Would Require Lab Testing Of CBD Items Sold In Illinois

Logan Chase arranges CBD products in a glass case display at The Smoke Shop in DeKalb.
Sarah Jesmer
Logan Chase arranges CBD products in a glass case display at The Smoke Shop in DeKalb.

A proposed bill would require all CBD products sold in Illinois to meet testing requirements that would be developed by the state Department of Agriculture.

CBD is a cannabis extract that does not cause a high but is marketed as a healing remedy to alleviate conditions such as anxiety or chronic pain. The product's regulation is so lax that even those in the industry have voiced concerns, the Chicago Tribune reported.

"We were really unnerved by the lack of consistency and regulation, and the wide variety of manufacturing processes that companies were using," said Coco Meers, co-founder of Chicago-based CBD company Equilibria.

Meers said CBD products can contain harmful pesticides or heavy metals and may not have the promised amount of cannabidiol.

"At the end of the day, everything gets called CBD, but all CBD is not created equal," Meers said.

Chicago-based LeafyQuick, a retailer of CBD products, only sells products that have been tested, said co-founder Rahul Easwar.

"When we tell them, 'Hey, this is third-party tested,' it's more like, 'OK great, but tell me what flavor you have,'" Easwar said. "It's more of an afterthought or it's not a thought at all."

The bill (HB3906) would require any untested products to be removed from store shelves and online shops, according to Rep. Bob Morgan, who introduced it in the state legislature Oct. 2.

Potential fines start at $1,000 and increase with more violations. The fines would go to a newly created CBD Safety Fund to be used for enforcement.

"This legislation would give the Department of Agriculture the ability to step in to make sure we are selling products that are safe for people to use," said Morgan, a Democrat representing the Chicago suburb of Deerfield.

Legal CBD has become ubiquitous in many of its forms, whether it's cream, bath bomb or gummy bears. Last year, President Donald Trump's signed a farm bill that legalized the cultivation of industrial hemp, from which CBD can be derived.

Since then, business has boomed. Sales of CBD products in the U.S. are expected to reach $5 billion this year — a more than 700% increase from last year, according to Chicago-based cannabis research firm Brightfield Group. By 2023, the market could grow to $23.7 billion.

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