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Wisconsin Assembly passes bill helping hemp industry

The first licenses for roughly 3,000 interested Florida hemp growers are expected to start being issued at the start of 2020. (Barbetorte / CC BY-SA 3.0)
The first licenses for roughly 3,000 interested Florida hemp growers are expected to start being issued at the start of 2020. (Barbetorte / CC BY-SA 3.0)(WJHG)
Published: Nov. 12, 2019 at 11:13 AM CST
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The Wisconsin Assembly has approved a bill intended to help the state's industrial hemp industry as the program enters its second year.

The bill would align the state's program with new requirements under the 2018 federal farm bill, while also allowing Wisconsin to retain control. The bipartisan measure is designed to help farmers, hemp processors, retailers and consumers as the industry grows.

The bill comes as some lawmakers and Democratic Gov. Tony Evers are pushing to legalize medical marijuana and decriminalize small amounts of pot. There's also a bill to fully legalize recreational marijuana.

Hemp and marijuana are both forms of cannabis, but hemp lacks enough of active ingredient THC to get people high.

The Assembly passed the bill unanimously Tuesday. The Senate passed it in October. It goes next to Evers.

Senators Patrick Testin (R-Stevens Point) and Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) partnered with Representatives Tony Kurtz (R-Wonewoc) and Dave Considine (D-Baraboo) to introduce the Growing Opportunities Act this past spring.

“Hemp is opening doors in Wisconsin – literally,” said Senator Testin in a release Tuesday. “Less than two weeks ago I toured the old Nekoosa paper mill, which had been closed for some time. It’s been repurposed into a hemp drying and storage facility for this harvest season. This crop has a lot of potential.”

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