3/2/19 Update

March 2, 2019

We are officially well into year two of the hemp restart in Wisconsin. The grower and processor license application deadline passed earlier this week, and we are excited to hear how many applications were submitted for 2019. Our last report from DATCP indicated that they were expecting the number to top 1,500. We may be looking at more than a 5-fold increase in participation as compared to last year.

For a great read about where the hemp industry is and where we hope it is going, check out last week’s cover story in the Isthmus. The Wisconsin Hemp Alliance plays a prominent role!

Our Advocacy Work
Since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill late last year (see our 12/22/2018 Update), the Wisconsin Hemp Alliance has been busy working with state legislators and other groups to put together new legislation that is needed to allow the industry to transition into the new federal regulatory system without disruption and to improve on the current system based on what we learned in 2018. This legislation, called “Hemp 2.0,” should be ready to share as early as our next update. At that time, we will summarize its provisions, what it means for the industry moving forward, and how you can get involved in supporting its passage.

We have also been working with the new Attorney General to identify strategies that may be able to address law enforcement concerns related to hemp around the state. Like every other aspect of the hemp industry, the Farm Bill made some significant changes to federal law that will effect law enforcement protocols. The Attorney General’s office has been constructively engaging in discussions surrounding what advice they might be able to give to law enforcement around the state to help them through this transition. Our thanks to them for their engagement.

Hemp Can Do It!
We are also excited about our newest project, a hemp-themed podcast titled “Hemp Can Do It!” We will send a separate email update when this is ready to go.

FDA Regulation
As we reported in our 12/22 Update, we are going to keep a close eye on any information coming out of the FDA related to the legality of CBD and other hemp-derived products. the most recent official statement from the agency reiterated their position that significant controls are in place for CBD products. However, the FDA chairman has been giving signals that hope is in sight. See the following post from our friends at the US Hemp Roundtable.

Insurance and Banking
Two of the positive changes that we expected to see following the passage of the Farm Bill are happening. We are starting to see more banking services available. At a hemp program earlier this week, for instance, a representative from Old National Bank said they are looking for clients in this sector. Also, take a look at the Forum tab above, where you will see a posting from a representative of HUB International related to available insurance services for the hemp industry. Please use this forum to open a dialogue on any topic for which you would like to engage others relating to hemp.

Side Notes
We have been speaking at hemp programs around the state over the last few months, and the schedule is not letting up as we move into spring. We are presenting at and sponsoring the Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Ag Day at the Capitol on March 2oth. Also, Apple Wellness will be hosting an event in April in which we will participate, called “It’s Hemp, It’s Fine.” We have also participated in various regional programs and a Farmer’s Union program earlier this week.

Michael Fields Agricultural Institute has set up a new informational forum relating to hemp. We have not had time to check this out but if you are interested, you can find information about this forum on their website.

This press release shows how much confidence is growing around hemp.

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