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WI DOJ backs down on hemp CBD ban after meeting bill authors, Farm Bureau

An emotional rollercoaster for stakeholders than began with the release by DATCP of a Wisconsin DOJ guidance stating newly licensed hemp growers and processors could not produce CBD and that such products sold by retailers were illegal ended with a reversal by the Attorney General’s office.

Wisconsin DOJ officials met May 9 with the farm bureau, the hemp bill’s authors, Sen. Patrick Testin and Rep. Jesse Kremer, and the Legislature’s attorneys to discuss CBC and the hemp bill.

On May 10, Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel released a statement describing the agreement reached with stakeholders. (Full statement)

Here are the key points from the DOJ release:

Farmers who follow DATCP’s rules and regulations may do the following:

  1. Grow industrial hemp without fear of criminal prosecution;

  2. Sell the entire industrial hemp plant or parts of the plant to anyone;

  3. Process the plant as permitted by DATCP’s rules and regulations, which includes producing CBD.

“It is important to note that the legal protections under DATCP’s program discussed above apply only to farmers who are working in compliance with DATCP authorization and retailers who are selling CBD certified to be in compliance with the provisions of the Farm Bill. Rogue producers and retailers will still be subject to prosecution.”

Key points of the reversal by Wisconsin DOJ.

The reversal by the Wisconsin DOJ brought a huge sigh of relief from DATCP-licensed hemp farmers and processors planning on producing cannabidiol from their hemp crops, retailers and CBD users around the state. The revised policy says CBD products being sold by retailers must be “certified to be in compliance with the provisions of the Farm Bill.” So-called “Rogue producers and retailers ” could still face prosecution.

Sen. Patrick Testin (R-Stevens Point) lauded the reversal in a press release:

Attorney General Schimel Agrees That Wisconsinites Can Produce CBD Oil Under Hemp Pilot Program Sta tement from Senator Testin

On May 9, the day of the meeting, Assembly sponsor Rep. Jesse Kremer (R-Kewaskum) sent out a press release taking issue with DOJ’s position on producing CBD under a federal hemp pilot program.

May 9 press release from Rep. Jesse Kremer regarding CBD and 2017 Wisconsin Act 100.

Also on May 10, the Wisconsin State Journal published a letter to the editor I submitted about the situation, “Schimel should stop attack on hemp.”

So after almost 2 weeks of uncertainty, Wisconsin farmers are cleared to produce CBD products and retailers cleared to sell Farm Bill compliant CBD products. Wisconsin hemp farmers can get back to planting their crops. Exciting times for the Wisconsin hemp industry lie ahead!

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