ASHWAUBENON, Wis. (WBAY) -- The state's Department of Justice reverses course, saying licensed farmers can produce CBD oil and other products containing CBD. The change comes after Attorney General Brad Schimel met this week with industry representatives, lawmakers and the state's agriculture department.
Governor Scott Walker legalized hemp farming by signing legislation in November. Dozens of farmers applied to cultivate hemp hoping to extract CBD oil to sell, but last month the DOJ said it was illegal for anyone other than doctors and pharmacies to possess or distribute the oil.
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) received a total of 368 industrialized hemp applications, with more than 100 applying to be hemp processors and the rest wanting to grow it.
Donna Gilson, a spokesperson with DATCP, says the DOJ’s changed stance will only help Wisconsin’s hemp growers.
"It gives farmers another way to market their product, in that sense it is good for them yes, there are certainly many other uses for industrial hemp though too," said Gilson.
CBD is a chemical found in the cannabis plant used in medicinal application and will not get you high.
"Some people come in, you know, they're on a lot of anti-depressants and things like that, and then they try CBD oil and they find that they're able to reduce if not completely get off of their prescription medication. Not only that but even kids who have a lot of seizures and epilepsy there's been a lot of studies showing that CBD can be very helpful for people with those conditions,” said Martin Corrigan, manager at B-Alive Nutrition Center in Ashwaubenon.
Corrigan says the past four to five months the demand for CBD products at his store, such as CBD oil, have really picked up.
“You know somebody tries it, it really helps with their issue and then they tell their friend about it, and then their friend will come and try it and it helps them, so a lot of it is word of mouth right now but yeah we have noticed a lot more demand in CBD oil the past couple of months,” Corrigan adds.
When the state’s hemp farmers are ready to harvest, DATCP will test the hemp to make sure plants have 0.3 percent or less of THC, the psychoactive chemical in cannabis plants that gives users a high.
"There's not a whole lot of great margins anymore on milk and other crops, and this is the kind of crop that could really help farmers with their profit margins and things like that, so I'm really happy that these farmers are able to make a profit off growing and selling the CBD," said Corrigan.