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Hemp Research Program emergency rule instated

Now in effect, as of Oct. 29, the Hemp Emergency Rule converts the Wisconsin Hemp Pilot Research Program to the Hemp Program. The Hemp Program is consistent with the pilot program and allows Wisconsin’s hemp growers to plant, grow and process hemp.

The Hemp Program continues to operate under the 2014 Farm Bill research program. The previous pilot program operated under the authority of Wis. Stat. s. 94.55(3), which was repealed by 2019 Act 68, Section 87, Oct. 31.

In order to continue to operate a hemp program after that date, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), needed to repeal and replace the former rule. The updated rule converts the program and incorporates minor changes to reflect updated statutory authority.

Under the new rule, pilot program licenses and registrations are converted, to licenses and registrations under the Hemp Program. This no-fee conversion will occur automatically without any action necessary by licensees. Annual registrations will expire Dec. 31, and licensees will need to renew their registration for 2021.

New participants in the program will not be issued a license, if in the 10 years prior, the person was convicted of a felony, relating to a controlled substance under state or federal law. Previously, participants were not issued a license if the applicant had ever been convicted of a criminal violation, relating to a controlled substance under state or federal law.

New applicants must submit to a fingerprint-based background check. These will be conducted by the Wisconsin Department of Justice, who will use criminal history information from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Applicants will pay for the costs associated with the criminal background check.

Hemp processors must now pay an initial $150 license fee, required by statute. Processors will not need to pay the annual registration in the same annual registration year as the payment of the initial processor license fee. Previously, hemp processors did not have a licensing fee, but a required $100 annual registration.