Industrial hemp licensing applications and registrations are now available for the 2019 growing season in Wisconsin. The deadline to apply is Dec. 31.
Wisconsin’s research pilot program requires that anyone who wants to grow or process industrial hemp in Wisconsin obtain a license from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, and register their intent to grow or process in the coming season. Industrial hemp can contain no more than 0.3 percent THC, the psychoactive ingredient present in marijuana. The two plants are closely related.
“We had a great response from growers for the first season this year,” said Brian Kuhn, director of the department’s Bureau of Plant Industry. “We licensed about 240 growers and 100 processors.”
State law requires that growers and processors pass a background check with no state or federal drug convictions. Growers pay a one-time licensing fee of $150 to $1,000, depending on how many acres they intend to plant. Processors also need a one-time license, at no cost. They must also file a research plan and meet reporting and recordkeeping requirements. Growers must pay to have their crops sampled for THC levels.
Industrial hemp was a major crop in Wisconsin in the first half of the 20th Century, mainly harvested for its fiber to make rope. Hemp products today are very diverse, and are available in the United States, but have been largely made from hemp produced in other nations.