Sen. Terry Moulton has penned an op-ed for the Chippewa Herald re-iterating his support for the commercialization of hemp.
Gov. Scott Walker recently signed a bill into law that would allow residents to grow industrial hemp with a license from the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. As the chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Small Business and Tourism, I frequently hear testimony on new agricultural initiatives and help decide whether the initiative is good for my constituents and the state. I am proud to say that I voted in favor of industrial hemp legalization when it came to my committee on the Senate floor because I want farmers to have access to a new crop that is in high demand with a variety of uses, can enrich the soil as a rotational crop and can also boost the economy with new jobs and materials for the marketplace.
We actually use hemp a lot in daily lives, but we aren’t allowed to grow it ourselves. In 2015, the United States imported about $78 million worth of hemp seeds and fibers from other countries like Canada and China. So far, twenty-seven states have legalized the production of hemp in some way, whether it be for pilot programs heavily monitored by the state or complete legalization with regulations that determine THC content and farming practices. Fortunately, this list now includes Wisconsin.
Our state’s strong agricultural legacy, which already includes industrial hemp, makes legalizing hemp a wonderful opportunity for farmers and anyone new to agriculture who would like to test their green thumb with a crop that has many uses. I expect that hemp production will have a large and positive impact on our economy while also allowing for innovations in agriculture and other fields like construction or health that use hemp in some form. Dairy might always be the crown jewel of Wisconsin farming, but we certainly have room in our fields to add a highly beneficial crop to our vast agricultural heritage.
If you have any questions or want to know how to get involved with farming industrial hemp, please check out DATCP’s website below for more information:https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/Programs_Services/IndustrialHemp.aspx.
Sen. Terry Moulton represents the 23rd Senate District in the Wisconsin Legislature.