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Walker signs bill legalizing hemp farming in Wisconsin

(NBC15)
Published: Nov. 30, 2017 at 11:47 AM CST
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Republican Gov. Scott Walker has quietly signed a bill that allows Wisconsin farmers to grow industrial hemp.

Walker spokesman Tom Evenson said the governor signed the bill Thursday but his office didn't issue any news releases about it.

The bill passed the Legislature unanimously. The measure's sponsor, Republican Rep. Jesse Kremer, tweeted Thursday that the bill will make Wisconsin a leader in hemp production. His tweet included the hashtag "AmericasHempland."

At least 30 other states have legalized hemp farming. Supporters say hemp has a wide range of uses and legalizing it gives farmers another profitable crop.

Under the new law, hemp plants couldn't contain more than 0.3 percent THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. Hemp farmers with drug convictions would not be eligible for state-issued licenses to grow the crop.

Those already in the hemp industry, like Ken Anderson, the president of Legacy Hemp, says the crop will bring money to Wisconsin farmers.

"They'll actually make money with hemp. That's kind of the key right now. Our farmers in seed production, right now, they're netting around $1,000 an acre which is just ridiculous right now in agriculture," Anderson said.

Now the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection will have 90 days to create a pilot program application for farmers. Farmers who want to grow hemp will have to do so through the application process.

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Wisconsin farmers will be allowed to grow industrial hemp under a bill Gov. Scott Walker plans to sign into law.

The bill's sponsor, Republican Rep. Jesse Kremer, tweeted Thursday that signing the bill will make Wisconsin a national and global leader in hemp production. His tweet included the hashtag "AmericasHempland."

The bill passed the Legislature with unanimous support.

With Walker's signature, Wisconsin will join at least 30 states that have legalized hemp farming.

Supporters in Wisconsin say hemp has a wide range of uses and farmers are poised to capitalize on the law change and grow a profitable crop.

Under the new law, hemp plants grown couldn't contain more than 0.3 percent THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. And hemp farmers with drug convictions would not be eligible for state-issued licenses to grow the crop.