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Fostering Sustainable Agriculture through Research, Education and Policy since 1984

Wisconsin Poised to Legalize Industrial Hemp

Wisconsin seems ready to join 30 other states that have already legalized industrial hemp. The Senate unanimously approved the industrial hemp Senate Bill (SB) 119 and sent it over to the Assembly. On Thursday, November 10th, the Assembly approved the bill and the next step would be for Governor Walker to sign it into law.

Under the bill, the Department of Agriculture would create an industrial hemp pilot program, which would allow farmers to grow hemp once they have been approved for a license.

 

Wisconsin once led the nation as the top producer of industrial hemp, much of it going into the states rope and twine industry. Nowadays, industrial hemp usage is seen in fabrics, paper, composites, insulation with many additional uses. The industrial hemp seeds, rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are crushed for oil and roasted for snacks.

The industrial hemp industry in the U.S. is about $450 million to $600 million per year. Proponents of the bill hope that Wisconsin may be able to enter this market and take advantage of this economic opportunity. It has the potential to revitalize rural economies and give farmers additional crop options.