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Milwaukee County board committee to look at studying hemp production in Mitchell Park greenhouses

Milwaukee County Supervisor Sylvia Ortiz-Velez, who represents the 12th district, has introduced a resolution to have the Parks department conduct a study of possible revenue-generating uses for the Mitchell Park Greenhouses including producing industrial hemp. The proposal will be discussed by the Parks, Energy and Environment Committee on Friday Sept. 14 at 1:00pm in Room 201B of the County Courthouse 901 N. 9th Street, Milwaukee. Supporters are urged to attend.

The Mitchell Park Greenhouses are located adjacent to the historic Mitchell Park Domes. Photo By Sulfur (Talk / contribs) – Image come from the english Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitchell_Park_Horticultural_Conservatory, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2696819

Ortiz-Velez, who also sits on the Mitchell Park Domes Task Force, told Cannabadger the Mitchell Park greenhouses facilities, which are adjacent to the Domes, are “one of a kind” and that all options deserve to be looked at. The seven new 60,000 square foot state-of-the-art greenhouses are used to grow plants for the Domes and the Boerner Botanical Gardens in Whitnall Park.

Below is the resolution by Sup. Ortiz-Velez

File No. 18-690

A RESOLUTION

Requesting the Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture to conduct a study and provide a written report of their conclusions on possible revenue-generating uses for the Mitchell Park greenhouses, including the potential to grow and produce industrial hemp, hemp seeds, and cannabinoid oil or construct a Grow Education Resource Center

WHEREAS, the County Grounds greenhouses were demolished as part of the Zoo Interchange reconstruction project; and

WHEREAS, in 2014, the Wisconsin State Department of Transportation provided approximately $14 million to build seven new greenhouses at Mitchell Park, adjacent to the Domes; and

WHEREAS, the Mitchell Park greenhouses grow varieties of plant species for use at the Mitchell Park Domes and Boerner Botanical Gardens in Whitnall Park; and

WHEREAS, the new greenhouses are state-of-the-art, sustainable facilities, totaling over 60,000 square feet, with precise temperature, shade, and lighting controls, as well as systems for capturing and saving snow and rainwater; and

WHEREAS, on November 30, 2017, the State of Wisconsin passed Act 100 and legalized the growing and processing of industrial hemp through the Industrial Hemp Pilot Research Program; and

WHEREAS, the growth and production of industrial hemp is on the rise throughout the United States, indicated by the introduction of H.Res. 5485 in the United States House of Representatives, which would allow all states to grow and produce industrial hemp and would remove cannabinoids produced from hemp plants from the Controlled Substances Act; and

WHEREAS, Milwaukee County should be advocates of new and innovative agricultural practices, especially as the social and political climate around hemp and cannabinoid oil, a product of the hemp plant, is quickly evolving; and

WHEREAS, the Mitchell Park greenhouses, because of their state-of-the-art design, could provide an opportunity for studying the growth and production of industrial hemp, hemp seeds, and cannabinoid oil as a revenue source for the Parks department; and

WHEREAS, the possibilities for the Mitchell Park greenhouses could include a Grow Education Resource Center where Milwaukee County, along with community partners, study hemp, hemp seeds, and cannabinoid oil, placing Milwaukee County on the frontier of new agricultural practices; and

WHEREAS, a Grow Education Resource Center would be an asset to Milwaukee County by providing an established practice of studying new agricultural practices, especially if marijuana were to become legalized; and

WHEREAS, as the opinion on marijuana evolves and changes at both the state and national level, established practices for studying new industrial agriculture could be beneficial and could enable Milwaukee County to be a leader in all types of new growing practices; and

WHEREAS, the Mitchell Park greenhouses, in conjunction with a Grow Education Resource Center, could also be used as a Certification Station, which would allow staff to test oils from other growers that have been produced for medicinal use; and

WHEREAS, in addition to a Grow Education Resource Center, the greenhouses could also function as a Research Lab in order to analyze which crops would produce the best hemp plants, hemp seeds, and cannabinoid oil; and

WHEREAS, Milwaukee County should develop and encourage practices that ensure a strong agricultural industry throughout the County and State as it changes and grows; now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED, that Milwaukee County encourages finding solutions to help fund the Milwaukee County Parks system and promote agriculture; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors hereby requests that the Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture study different proposals for the best use of the Mitchell Park greenhouses, including a proposal for growing and producing industrial hemp, hemp seeds, and cannabinoid oil and a proposal for a Grow Education Resource Center; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors hereby requests a written report of the conclusions of the study with forecasted fiscal notes and potential community partnership suggestions for each proposal.

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