- On Tuesday, Governor Tony Evers signed into law a new hemp bill
- The bill will facilitate for an expansion in the cultivation of hemp while also making it possible for farmers to get paid within seven days after the sale is made
- Felons will not be allowed to cultivate the crop or handle any processing of hemp
- Hemp with THC levels of 0.3% and above should be destroyed immediately
Wisconsin makes history as the first state in the U.S. to adopt the expansion of hemp, a bill that’s meant to assist processors, retailers, and farmers in the rapidly growing hemp industry. Signed into law by Governor Tony Evers on November 26th, the law is expected to bring Wisconsin’s hemp program in line with 2018’s Farm Bill.
The law re-authorizes the cultivation of the crop while making a number of notable technical changes to current hemp laws in Wisconsin. Those in support asserted that there was a need to update the state law following the action of Congress in 2018’s Farm Bill that called for countrywide new federal regulations of hemp.
In 2017, Wisconsin went ahead to legalize industrial hemp that is used in making quite a number of products such as fabrics, rope, granola bars, and lotions. But before then, cultivating hemp was illegal in the state, even though it was very popular. Cultivation of hemp was outlawed since the plant contained small amounts of THC, the chemical responsible for giving its users a high feeling.
The new laws that were signed by Gov. Tony Evers require processors and growers to pass a background check. Additionally, if processors and growers have any federal or state convictions, then they aren’t also allowed to cultivate the crop.
All hemp crops that are cultivated within Wisconsin must also pass through state tests to establish its THC levels. Any hemp crop with THC levels of 0.3% or more must be destroyed immediately.
Some growers have complained about the time it takes for state officials to come and test their hemp crops, arguing that extended delays make their products to increase their THC levels, an aspect that makes it hard for them to sell them.
Immediately after signing the hemp bill to become law on Tuesday, Governor Evers lauded the hemp crop, arguing that it’s one of those crops that provide endless opportunities to the state’s farmers who are in search of new markets to penetrate.
“From textiles, to recycling and bioplastics, to industrial materials, hemp provides endless opportunities to Wisconsin farmers who are looking for new markets to enter, which is why interest in growing and producing hemp in Wisconsin has skyrocketed in the last year,” he said.
Wisconsin Road to CBD
Last year in 2018, the state of Wisconsin initiated an “industrial hemp” pilot initiative/program on a temporary basis. This two-year program allowed persons with the intention of cultivating hemp but only for research purposes of obtaining licenses.
This program proved to be a huge success. In the same year, too, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection gave out 245 licenses to the state’s hemp processors and growers.
This year alone, the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has issued licenses 556 hemp crop processors, and 1,247 hemp growers across the state. Also known as Wisconsin Act 68, the bill signed into law by Gov. Evers contains some key elements worth noting. Some of them include:
- Removing or doing away with the term “industrial hemp” to become just “hemp.”
- Aligning the state’s definition of hemp crop to resemble the federal definition of the hemp crop
- Allowing the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection to use contractors from outside when assistance is needed in testing the THC levels of hemp crops
- Prohibiting people from mislabeling hemp products or hemp, making some wrong claims regarding its content, quality, THC concentration, the origin of the hemp, and knowingly selling any mislabeled hemp or its products.
Even though the hemp initiative/program currently enjoys a bipartisan approach, Evers and other Democrats haven’t been that successful, especially in their push towards attempting to have medical marijuana legalized and decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana. In Wisconsin, a bill to have recreational marijuana legal hasn’t been as successful as such.
As of now, though, farmers and retailers of hemp in the state of Wisconsin can cultivate or engage in the sale of hemp without having to worry about legality. All they need is a good criminal record and a valid license to operate.