Wisconsin Hemp Legalization

“At first, a lot of people tried hemp out of curiosity or just to see if they could make extra money,” Roberts added. “Many gave up because they couldn`t sell their raw materials and couldn`t accept losses compared to the previous year.” However, Santana mentioned that there were some policies he didn`t agree with, such as people with beliefs who weren`t eligible to get a license. Santana, who received his Farm Bill license in 2018, pointed out the irony of the situation: Although hemp is now legal, people previously charged with hemp-related offenses cannot participate. The Rens Hemp Company in Brandon, Wisconsin, closed in 1958, was the last legal producer of hemp in the United States after World War II. Prior to its closure in 1958, Rens was the main supplier of hemp rope to the U.S. Navy.[4] [5] Although it was only legalized three years ago, hemp and Wisconsin are no strangers. In 1908, researchers from the Department of Agronomy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, interested in learning more about hemp as a source of fiber, harvested the state`s first hemp crop. UW-Madison continued further experiments in the following years and eventually concluded that hemp was an excellent source of fiber. In 2021, Wisconsin had about 5,300 acres of hemp averaging about 40 acres, according to state data. But the number of hemp growers in the state had fallen sharply in 2021, and there are still more than twice as many growers as processors. Medical cannabis, decriminalization and legalization have been rejected year after year.

Lawmakers adjourned its session in 2022 without granting a hearing on any of the bills during the session, though there was a post-session hearing on medical cannabis in April. (However, since the session has been adjourned, the bill cannot be deferred.) Governor Tony Evers (D) wants to lead the state to a more reasonable policy. In 2018, his first budget bill as governor included the elimination of all cannabis possession penalties, cancellation, and a comprehensive medical cannabis program. Unfortunately, the Joint Finance Committee removed the medical cannabis provisions from the proposed budget – with each Republican member voting to scrap the compassionate program. In 2021, Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu (R) made it clear that neither legalization nor medical cannabis would pass through his Senate. He said, “We do not have 17 votes in caucus for medical or recreational purposes.” Meeting chair Robin Vos (R) was personally more outspoken, but said of the Republican faction in the assembly: “It`s clear that our caucus didn`t reach consensus.” The GOP faction in the assembly is radically out of step with the voters. In November 2018, about one million Wisconsin voters accepted advisory questions on their ballots calling for more humane cannabis laws. All measures have been adopted. Questions about medical cannabis received between 67% and 89% in the 11 counties and two cities where they appeared. Questions on adult consumption received between 60% and 76% of the votes. While Wisconsin does not allow statewide citizen-initiated voting measures, all state legislatures will be on the ballot this year.

Contact candidates in your district and ask them what they think about medical cannabis, decriminalization, and/or legalization. Then, help elect a new legislature that listens to voters. These comments were widely interpreted as a sign that the DEA was unwilling to ask for further sweeping restrictions. And last month, a Delta 8 industry website published a September letter from the DEA specifically stating that hemp-derived Delta 8 is excluded from federal drug laws. 3 Tall Pines, which now directly employs a dozen people and signs contracts with about six others, is doing something different than most Wisconsin hemp growers. Where most sell commodities on the market – just as farmers put corn or soybeans under the bushel – 3 Tall Pines has launched its own line of products. On its website, the farm sells vaping cartridges, rubbers and a Delta 8 infused caramel pumpkin pie bar. It has become a consumer-oriented brand, not just a producer. Last winter, when DATCP issued a call for licensed inspectors, there were only two USDA-certified hemp inspectors in Wisconsin.

When the cardinal spoke with Santana in March, there were 49 USDA-certified sampling agents in Wisconsin — a number that has only grown since. In Wisconsin, Evers, a Democrat, has called for the legalization of recreational marijuana, something Republican lawmakers have so far prevented. But the absence of a legal framework for the sale of THC products and the lack of a political consensus to ban the sale of Delta 8 products have created a situation where new intoxicants have flooded the state with few regulations. In July, a new law went into effect in Minnesota allowing the sale of edibles and cannabis beverages fortified with hemp-derived THC, and a poll released in September found that 53 percent of the state`s voters support legalizing adult use. Thran is evangelical about the potential benefits of the hemp plant — not only in the documented use of medical marijuana and CBD products, but also in the new uses that the drug`s ban has prevented scientists from researching. He sees the recreational products of Delta 8, which produces 3 Tall Pines, as a way to grow his business, but he has another end goal. He wants his farm to supply medical cannabis products. For the legal marijuana industry, the risk of a similar health crisis around unregulated Delta 8 products is that it could lead to a backlash against other cannabis products. The U.S. Cannabis Council has called not only for the national legalization of Delta 9 THC, but also for federal regulation of Delta 8.

He said the initial increase in applications was due to Wisconsin`s long and proud history of hemp, as well as farmers` desire to diversify to mitigate risk. Thran and Brussveen work on only 8 hectares of land. They have a single greenhouse for their hemp plants, with plans to build one or two more. While it remains to be seen whether legalization has the support it needs in the legislature this year, Evers told reporters last week that he will continue to defend it. The origins of Wisconsin`s current hemp program lie in the passage of the 2014 U.S. Farm Bill, which allowed industrial hemp production under state pilot programs for research purposes. Despite official research, hemp remained a Schedule 1 drug. By the 1940s, however, the hemp industry had declined considerably. With the exception of a brief surge during World War II, hemp fell out of favor, and in 1948 the U.S. government exited the hemp business, ending the hemp purchase and price support program. Coupled with declining demand and severe restrictions, the hemp industry limped until 1957, when the last hemp crop was harvested in Wisconsin.

In 1970, the Controlled Substances Act identified hemp as a Schedule 1 drug, banned its production, and ended legal hemp production in Wisconsin for nearly six decades. What many of these products have in common is that they are derived from hemp, a class of cannabis containing less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component of the plant. Previous attempts at legalization — including Evers` previous plans to legalize medical and adult cannabis through his budget proposal and bills that would have legalized medical and adult cannabis — have been blocked by the Republican-led Wisconsin legislature. Overall, Richard said the transition from the hemp pilot program to the USDA program went smoothly. “The saturation of the CBD market following the signing of the Farm Bill in 2018 was probably the most important factor in the decline in applications,” Richards said. “Producers are very good at growing hemp, but if you don`t have a larger market to sell your product, you`ll have an overabundance of produce in the system.” Wisconsin was the nation`s largest hemp producer in the 1940s and was home to the country`s last hemp production company (Rens Hemp Company) before the federal ban. A 2017 law reapproved hemp cultivation in the state. The Republican-led Minnesota Senate blocked a vote earlier this year on a bill to legalize cannabis for adults, but the party lost control of the House in last week`s midterm elections.

In 2017, Wisconsin implemented its state hemp program, aptly named the hemp pilot research program. This program was led by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Commerce and Consumer Protection (DATCP) and required hemp farmers and processors to submit a research plan to obtain a full license as hemp suppliers. In the first year of the program, 347 people applied for a licence to grow or process hemp. The following year, the number of applications submitted to the PIDAC increased by 2,227 applications. Ultimately, however, Santana said he welcomed federal hemp regulation because it opened up opportunities in banking, finance and interstate commerce that had been closed earlier when each state had different laws.