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DATCP extends life of hemp pilot program under new federal rule, pauses transition

Grace Connatser
Wisconsin State Farmer
Congress recently passed H.R. 8337, which allows states to extend their hemp pilot programs to Sept. 30, 2021. Wisconsin's program was originally set to end Oct. 31 this year.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection is extending the state's Wisconsin Hemp Pilot Research Program that will now end Sept. 30, 2021.

The program was originally set to end on Oct. 31 this year, but Congress has passed H.R. 8337, "Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and Other Extension Act," that gives states the authority to extend hemp programs until next September.

DATCP Secretary-designee Randy Romanski said all licensing and registration is being automatically renewed and no action is needed from people who hold them. He also said there will be no renewal fees.

DATCP was in the process of transitioning to a new hemp program given the original end date of the current program, but that transition is now been put on hold until next year. Romanski said they decided to extend the current program because it's the best option for the state's hemp industry partners at this time.

Romanski also said sticking with the current program will give all parties involved more time to hammer out remaining issues before moving on to a new program. He said it will also allow the federal government to continue finalizing hemp laws.

"We are taking advantage of our pilot program and we're doing that to keep up with our obligations under state law," Romanski said. "We've determined that the structure of our pilot program currently provides the industry the greatest opportunity at this time."

Romanski said his agency is keeping in communication with industry partners and more information will be available on DATCP's hemp site. He said the goal is to make the transition "seamless."