AG Brad Schimel says those participating in the state’s industrial hemp pilot program can extract and sell CBD oil.
The announcement comes after Schimel faced protests from lawmakers and potential producers over his original interpretation of a new industrial hemp law.
The Department of Justice originally determined in an analytical note at the end of last month that the production and sale of CBD oil from industrial hemp was still illegal under the new law allowing for the growing and processing of the plant.
But authors of the law, Sen. Patrick Testin and Rep. Jesse Kremer, along with others have challenged that interpretation. The two authors, as well as officials from DOJ, the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and the Farm Bureau, met on Wednesday to discuss the issue.
Schimel in a statement said he was advising law enforcement “not to take enforcement action against products made from industrial hemp that is grown under a lawful hemp research pilot program, including CBD, until Congress considers changes to the law, enabling the Wisconsin State Legislature to further clarify the status of these products.”
Testin, R-Stevens Point, said in a statement Schimel’s decision will “ensure participants in the hemp pilot program the greatest level of freedom and opportunity.”
The official count for applicants to grow or process industrial hemp has risen to 368, according to DATCP spokeswoman Donna Gilson.
The deadline to apply was May 1, and 359 applications were originally counted. Of that number, 102 applicants sought approval to process the plant while 257 wanted to grow it.
That total has grown slightly as the agency has received mailed-in applications postmarked for the deadline or just before.
“At this stage, we don’t anticipate receiving any more,” Gilson said in an email.
Applicants must pass a background check to grow or process industrial hemp, and growers have to pay a one-time licensing fee of between $150 and $1,000, depending on acreage. There’s no cost for processors, but they also need a license from DATCP.
See more from DATCP on hemp in Wisconsin: http://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/