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CBD Oil in Wisconsin: The Badger State and CBD

Janet Miller

Janet Miller

Last updated: December 9, 2019

Shutterstock / Mio Buono

CBD is currently illegal in Wisconsin, except using non-psychoactive CBD oil and industrial hemp. In this state, there are heavy punishments attached to using cannabis.

As societal attitudes towards marijuana and cannabis change, so too do laws nationwide, and Wisconsin is no exception. In the 1970s, Madison decriminalized possession of marijuana, and since then, the idea of legalizing cannabis has gained traction across the state.

The effort to legalize CBD oil in Wisconsin has enjoyed tremendous success. In 2013 Lydia’s Law was passed, which legalized medical CBD. Since then, laws have been passed that make it easier for doctors to prescribe CBD. New statutes are also on the books that allow farmers to grow and harvest industrial hemp. While progress has been made for CBD users, as of 2019, there is a stunning lack of clarity as to who can legally buy and sell CBD.

The Legality of Cannabis and CBD Oil in Wisconsin

In October, representatives David Crowley and Sheila Stubbs introduced legislation that would decriminalize the use of small amounts of marijuana. Governor Evers has publicly stated that he will support this legislation.

Marijuana use remains illegal in Wisconsin. Possession is a misdemeanor punishable by fines up to $1,000 and jail time. A subsequent arrest for possession is a felony. Selling marijuana is a felony. There are efforts underway, though, to fully legalize it. Governor Tony Evers, elected in 2018, stated earlier this year that he plans on legalizing medical marijuana, decriminalizing possession of small amounts, and establishing an expungement procedure for those who have completed their sentences and probation for possession.

The bill was later amended to allow for possession if a doctor deemed it medically necessary, and Governor Scott Walker signed this version of the bill into law in April 2017. This bill reduced the restrictions that hand-strung doctors and limited the availability of CBD oil.

Wisconsin Act 267 (2013 Assembly Bill 726) was enacted in 2013 for the purpose of treating seizures. It passed the Senate and the assembly and was named “Lydia’s Law” in honor of Lydia Schaeffer, a girl battling a rare form of epilepsy, and her parents who lobbied for changes to the law. However, the bill stated that CBD oil needed to have FDA approval before it could be prescribed. Since it did not have FDA approval at the time, doctors would not prescribe it.

Cannabis growth in Wisconsin dates back to 1908 when it was grown in cooperation with the state’s Agricultural Experiment Station. Fifteen acres were planted, and the plant enjoyed tremendous success. Hemp production in Wisconsin declined after the 1930s due to changing laws and social attitudes about marijuana. But, society’s views and the law on cannabis and marijuana are coming back around.

Industrial Hemp in Wisconsin

Shutterstock / Elenabsl

Governor Scott Walker signed the 2017 Wisconsin Act 100 that legalized the cultivation of industrial hemp in November 2017. Under the new law, hemp plants cannot contain more than 0.3 percent of THC. Plants with that test over the limit for THC cannot be sold. State law requires Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) to establish rules to regulate an industrial hemp program. The program must give all persons in the program an equal opportunity to grow and sell their harvest.

DATCP heavily regulates hemp production. Hemp farmers and processors are required to obtain licenses and register every year they plan on working with this crop. They must also pass criminal background checks and pay fees to harvest and process this crop. As of 2019, farmers and processors have to:

  • Pay fees for each farming location and sampled batch
  • Destroy harvests that containing too much THC
  • Sign a research agreement and research plan
  • Submit a planning report to the state within 30 days of planting
  • Provide a 30-day notification before harvest
  • Allow state officials to obtain samples of their crop
  • Submit production or processing reports after harvest and prior to the next year’s harvest

What Kind of CBD Oil in Wisconsin Is Legally Available?

Under state law, the the only kind of CBD in Wisconsin that is legal is any that is dispensed by a pharmacy or physician-approved by the Controlled Substances Board, and that has less than 0.3 percent of THC.

CBD possessed by an individual who has documentation (prescription) from a doctor stating that it is used to treat a medical disorder is also legal.
The bill states that a doctor must have issued the documentation within the last year and that it must indicate why the user needs it to treat his or her medical disorder. The law states that the CBD may not have any psychoactive effects.

Currently, law enforcement is not enforcing this aspect of the law, which is why specialty shops can be found all over the state. These specialty shops can sell hemp as well per the May 2019 statement made by the Wisconsin attorney general. The statement says that the attorney general’s opinion is that retailers can sell CBD hemp oil made in accordance with DATCP regulations and the 2018 Farm Bill.

What Can CBD Oil in Wisconsin be Used For?

The proponents of CBD say that it can be used to treat mental health problems like anxiety, as well as inflammation, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, and a myriad of other medical disorders. CBD is also useful for getting people off of dangerous opioids. The reason why CBD is so effective is that these compounds act on the endocannabinoid receptors, which helps the body to achieve homeostasis. For example, in people with Crohn’s disease, the CBD reacts with the CB2 receptors in the gastrointestinal tract, which helps to reduce inflammation.

Not that having CBD without a prescription is a misdemeanor, and distributing it to someone without a prescription is a felony offense. Due to a lack of enforcement, however, it is unlikely anyone will be arrested.

Can Doctors Prescribe CBD Oil in Wisconsin?

Doctors are allowed to prescribe CBD oil with less than 0.3 percent THC to their patients according to the law. The doctor must provide the patient with the documentation for the CBD. The documentation with which the doctor provides the patient must contain:

  • Name, address, and telephone number of the issuing physician
  • Name and address of the patient
  • The date of which the document was issued

Can You Grow CBD Oil in Wisconsin?

Attorney general Brad Schimel issued a clarification in May 2019 on his office’s approach to growing cannabis and enforcement. In his statement, he said that it was legal for farmers to grow industrial hemp to extract CBD. This statement was issued due to an April 2019 release from the attorney general’s office that stated CBD could only be obtained from doctors and pharmacies. Farmers can raise hemp so long as they are licensed to do so.

CBD can be grown in Wisconsin legally, but it is challenging to be successful. Hemp is a labor-intensive crop, and the growing season in this area of the Midwest is unpredictable in terms of weather. In 2019 alone, DATCP received over 2,000 applications from farmers wanting to raise this crop.

Where to Buy CBD Oil in Wisconsin in 2019?

According to Wisconsin Statute, only a pharmacy or physician approved under 961.34 (2) (a) or (b) can legally authorize the use of and distribute CBD products. The statement issued by the attorney general in May 2019 also allows stores to sell CBD oil products made by licensed Wisconsin farmers.

How to Get CBD Oil in Wisconsin Online in 2019?

CBD can be bought online in Wisconsin. Customers interested in buying CBD should scan a copy of their prescription and email it to the pharmacy or store before purchasing to be on the safe side. Do not buy from a store outside of the state because the owners must be authorized under Wisconsin law to sell.

Are There Stores That Sell CBD Oil in Wisconsin?

There are CBD retailers to purchase CBD products. Customers can find items like CBD tinctures, edibles, bath bombs, and other products that contain CBD. Since DATCP tests these products, consumers do not have to be worried about getting a substandard product. Before making a purchase, be sure that the store is operating within the bounds of the law.

Final Thoughts about CBD Oil in Wisconsin in 2019

The legal landscape for CBD users in Wisconsin is a potential minefield in spite of the new laws and the 2018 Farm Bill. The Wisconsin legislature needs to pass a new law that clearly states what is legal and illegal regarding the sale, use, and harvesting of CBD.

As of 2019, law enforcement is doing very little to enforce laws governing who can buy and use CBD and who cannot. Until a law is passed stating that cannabis products can be used recreationally, CBD users in Wisconsin should stay on the safe side of the law by abiding with the state rules and regulations. The law clearly states that potential users need a prescription and have to buy it from a pharmacy or doctor.


Janet Miller

Janet Miller

Janet is a medical specialist with 10 years of experience as a physician and writing passion. She aims to help people and expand humans mindset. Chat with Janet on Twitter @Janet_Miller_MD or via our contact page.


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