Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin are circulating a bill to legalize industrial hemp production in the state, according to an Associated Press report. During World War II, Wisconsin produced three-quarters of the nation’s hemp, and the lawmakers are hoping to bring the industry back.
The bill, sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Patrick Testin and by Rep. Jesse Kramer in the House, would allow farmers to obtain licenses to grow the crop from the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Individuals with drug convictions would not be eligible for the program, which requires testing to ensure the plants do not contain more than 1 percent THC. Farmers would be able to use seeds that have been certified as hemp, and procure them from out-of-state if necessary.
“It’s an opportunity to bring an industry back to the state of Wisconsin,” Testin said in the report.
At least 30 states have passed hemp legalization measures under provisions outlined in the 2014 federal Farm Bill. Irwin Goldman, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor and horticulturist, said that hemp crops are well-suited for Wisconsin’s climate due to its sturdy and low-maintenance qualities.
The measure has not yet been introduced in their body of the state legislature.