The Senate committee in Wisconsin passed a bill via unanimous vote to allow for legal cultivation and production of industrial hemp. Industrial hemp has hundreds of uses, and may be lucrative for Wisconsin. Representative Jesse Kremer is one of the bill’s authors.
Kremer mentioned a few uses for industrial hemp being medicine, grain, concrete and fire protective gear, according to The Badger Herald. Hemp also has ample nutritional value as a source of Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids and fiber. There are groups ready to start planting hemp, and hope to do so in the next legislative session.
Kremer said, “These are new high tech jobs, and we can be creating a new industry in Wisconsin in our rural areas – I think it’s huge.”
The bill still has to take a few steps and gain approvals, plus the Governor’s signature before it can become law.
Kremer said, “I think we can get it done this session, but whether or not we can get it done before the next growing season, or in time to use it for the next growing season, is up in the air.”
One of the groups ready to put plants in the ground is the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin. They have ample tribal land available that used to be a fish hatchery. They want to produce CBD oil. The tribe’s counsel, Jeff Cormell, says they’re ready to get the process rolling and the tribe is hoping to build partnerships with other farmers in the state.
Cormell said, “The tribe would be looking to partner with any and every farmer in the state that wants to grow as much hemp as they possibly can to process into CBD and send it up to us for processing.”
The tribe wants to see industrial hemp help Wisconsin’s (and their own) economy. The tribe is also hoping for local business partnerships for services like packaging and advertising.
Cormell said, “We’re trying to use the community to develop their own businesses to help support our business. So as a launching pad for Burnett County as a whole and not just for the tribe, to take this industry and really improve the economic development for the entire country.”
Kremer and Cormell agree that CBD might be a viable option for those taking opioids and other painkillers.
Kremer said, “If you look at the CBD oil in industrial hemp, you can’t get high from it, and it actually covers more maladies than CBD from a marijuana plant. The drug companies don’t want it because they’re the ones manufacturing it, but it is another option that’s out there.”
Kremer hopes the bill passes all steps and becomes law.
He said, “There’s all sorts of stuff that, if we’re allowed to do this, I think we could … be a center of production for some of these products in Wisconsin and be the place that everyone sends their industrial hemp to get processed.”