Madison (WQOW) -- Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel's office has reversed course, stating in a release that it's okay for authorized farmers planning can grow industrial hemp for the purpose of making cannabidiol, or CBD, oil.
The attorney general says this follows a Wednesday afternoon meeting with him, his staff, state lawmakers, representatives from the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation and officials with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
The release stated that all the groups agreed on three things: farmers in Wisconsin can grow industrial hemp under the new law without fear of criminal prosecution, they can sell the hemp plant or parts of it to anyone and they can process the plant as permitted by DATCP regulations to make products, including CBD oil.
The release points out these legal protections only apply to farmers working in compliance with DATCP authorization and retailers who are selling CBD certified to be in compliance with the provisions of the Farm Bill.
“Although our legislature has chosen to authorize industrial hemp pilot projects and products made from that hemp, it is still very important to remind Wisconsin consumers that certain products may threaten their health or could be mislabeled,” said Attorney General Schimel. “Over the past few weeks, I have learned that there is great deal of confusion and uncertainty with products sold in grocery stores and health food stores labeled as ‘CBD.’”
The Wisconsin Farm Bureau celebrated the move in a statement, writing: "In a time of low commodity prices, this new market is an opportunity for farmers to explore new opportunities. Wisconsin Farm Bureau thanks DOJ for recognizing the legitimacy of the 2014 Farm Bill that allows any part of the industrial hemp plant to be used in the research pilot program. Wisconsin farmers look forward to pursuing these market opportunities.”
Schimel's stance seems to represent a reversal of opinion from a Justice Department memo sent out last month that said only doctors and pharmacies can distribute the oil and people can possess it only with a doctor's certification. That memo sent a shock wave through the community of farmers who had applied for permits to grow industrial hemp under the law passed in Wisconsin last year and prompted Thursday's meeting.