In this highly-regulated industry, companies are under more scrutiny than ever to comply with myriad laws.
Godfrey & Kahn provides comprehensive legal services to companies that grow and process hemp in Wisconsin to ensure regulation compliance and mitigate risk.
Nearly through its first full year, Wisconsin’s industrial hemp program was enacted into law in November 2017, taking advantage of a federal Farm Law exemption to the Controlled Substances Act. The program authorizes growing and processing industrial hemp, provided it is done pursuant to a state industrial hemp pilot program.
2018 marked the first year of Wisconsin’s industrial hemp program. Changes made at the federal level in December in the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp throughout the country, ensuring that 2019 will be a year of additional opportunities for the industrial hemp industry in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin recently authorized the creation of a state industrial hemp pilot program to be administered by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). Under the new law, DATCP is authorized to issue permits to Wisconsin growers and processors of industrial hemp.
Following the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp and hemp-derived products are no longer controlled substances. However, these products are still regulated and most comply with laws and regulations administered by the FDA and Wisconsin’s industrial hemp pilot program.
While hemp is now legal under state and federal law, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has made clear that cannabidiol (CBD), a product derived from hemp, is not a permitted ingredient in alcohol beverages quite yet.
Wisconsin’s hemp and CBD economy is officially online and community banks are getting a front row seat. In its second year, buoyed by the 2018 Farm Bill at the federal level, which removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act and cleared the way for hemp as a mainstream crop, the Wisconsin Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program is seeing immense growth in the number of grower and processor license applications.
Governor Evers signed into law 2019 Wisconsin Act 68, taking the next step in Wisconsin’s transition from the industrial hemp pilot program to the permanent regulatory structure authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill. The new law provides some additional certainty under state law regarding the processing and marketing of hemp and hemp products, including cannabidiol (CBD).
The FDA issued a revised consumer update regarding unapproved CBD products and issued a new round of warning letters to CBD retailers selling products in violation of the FDCA. The agency also warned of potential health risks and safety concerns associated with numerous unapproved CBD products.
The second year of the industrial hemp pilot program in Wisconsin saw immense growth in the number of licensed growers and processors statewide. Recently, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) announced its intent to proceed under the pilot program for the 2020 growing season. Registrations and license applications are now being accepted.
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