Today, Wisconsinites are aware of the need to diversify their state’s economy. Enacting Senate Bill 119 into law was expected. Bruce Perlowin, CEO of Hemp, Inc. (OTC PINK: HEMP), said, “It’s time for hemp to make its rightful return to the American landscape. Wisconsin was once a leading producer of industrial hemp and now the crop is set to make a return to the state of Wisconsin.”
Senate Bill 119 states, in part, the following:
“…requires the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection to issue licenses that authorize the growing and processing of industrial hemp… The bill provides that a person may possess, transport, sell, distribute, or buy industrial hemp without a license if the industrial hemp was planted, grown, cultivated, and processed by a person licensed by DATCP or by a person in another state or country who planted, grew, cultivated, or processed the industrial hemp in accordance with the laws of that state or country. The bill requires reporting by a person with an industrial hemp license, including reporting all sales of industrial hemp.
This bill also provides that DATCP or an institution of higher education may establish an agricultural pilot program to study industrial hemp and to grow hemp for this purpose.
This bill requires DATCP, the University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (UW-CALS), and the Wisconsin Crop Improvement Association to administer a voluntary seed certification program for industrial hemp and allows DATCP and UW-CALS to develop a Wisconsin heritage seed for industrial hemp. In addition, the bill requires any industrial hemp or industrial hemp product intended for human consumption to be tested, in its final consumer-ready state, by an independent testing laboratory. The bill sets out requirements related to the laboratory’s accreditation, testing, and reporting.
This bill also creates an exemption from the controlled substances law for growing, processing, or possessing industrial hemp in conformity with a license issued by DATCP. Additionally, the bill creates an exemption for possessing, transporting, delivering, selling, distributing, and buying industrial hemp if the industrial hemp was planted, grown, cultivated, and processed by a person licensed by DATCP or by a person in another state or country in accordance with the laws of that state or country.”
To read the full bill, click here.
According to the amended bill, the pilot program should move quickly, as DATCP only has 90 days to develop a system for licensing growers who will participate in the program. One news source, The Hempgazette, stated, “Given the constraints on industrial hemp in U.S. Federal law, there will be significant limitation on hemp farming in Wisconsin for the foreseeable future, however the framework of SB119 will enable expansion if things should change. Wisconsin’s association with hemp began in 1908 with 6 acres of the crop. Its popularity grew rapidly and according to a 1918 report, Wisconsin was the second largest hemp producing state in the USA by 1917. Of the 42,000 acres of hemp grown in the United States that year, Wisconsin accounted for 7,000 acres. That same year, Kentucky had 17,000 acres under cultivation.”
Co-sponsor of SB119, State Senator Patrick Testin, sees a bright future for industrial hemp in Wisconsin. “We import about $500 million from Canada alone into the United States of industrial hemp,” he said. “This is a prime opportunity to lessen our dependence on foreign imports, and have those imports grown right here in Wisconsin.”