Farmers in diverse states like Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine and Minnesota are researching a new crop: industrial hemp. Many states are changing laws to allow growing of hemp.
Wisconsin is slow to get in the game. Hopefully, this is about to change.
Lawmakers on the Senate Agriculture, Small Business and Tourism Committee are considering a hemp legalization bill. If Senate Bill 119 becomes law, the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection would create an active industrial hemp program and license growers.
Hemp is not a new crop to Wisconsin. We once had flourishing fields of hemp. But, as the saying goes, you are sometimes known by your relatives. Even for a plant. Hemp suffered from an association with its cousin, marijuana. By the 1950s, farmers stopped growing hemp. Federal and state drug laws swept up hemp in an effort to eradicate marijuana.
According to a Congressional Research Service publication, industrial hemp and marijuana are separate varieties or cultivars of the same species of the plant cannabis sativa.
Generally, hemp is defined by having less than 0.3% of THC, an active