Hemp farming bill heads to Gov. Walker

Carol Spaeth-Bauer
Wisconsin State Farmer
Industrial hemp is seen growing on a test plot near Langdon, N.D.

MADISON -  A bill unanimously passed by the Wisconsin State Senate on Nov. 7, to allow the farming of industrial hemp, heads to the Capitol for Gov. Scott Walker's consideration.

Under Senate Bill 119, the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection would be required to issue licenses that authorize the growing and processing of industrial hemp. 

Industrial hemp is defined as the plant Cannabis sativa with no more than 
0.3 percent THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, on a dry weight basis, according to the bill.

An application for a license to grow industrial hemp would include the GPS coordinates of the land. A criminal history search of the applicant would also be required. No one who was convicted of violating the controlled substances law would be issued a license. 

Individuals with an industrial hemp license would be required to report all sales of industrial hemp. 

The bill also allows DATCP or an institution of higher education to establish an agricultural pilot program to study industrial hemp and grow it for that purpose. 

Senate Bill 119 does not change federal law. 

The 2014 federal farm bill, 7 USC 5940, authorizes a state agriculture department or an institution of higher education to grow industrial hemp for research purposes, if the state's laws allow the growing of industrial hemp by a state agricultural agency or institute of higher education.