Wisconsin’s legislature has unanimously passed a bill to implement an industrial hemp pilot program. The measure falls in line with other state programs and federal guidelines requiring that plants contain no more than 0.3 percent THC.

The measure will require cultivators to undergo a federal background check and allows license denials for individuals who have been convicted of violating controlled substances laws. Growers will have to provide GPS coordinates of the land on which the industrial hemp will be grown. If any plant in the crop tests higher than 1 percent THC, the entire crop would be destroyed, the bill states.

The measure also allows higher education institutions to establish industrial hemp research programs. The legislation further requires that the University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the Wisconsin Crop Improvement Association “to administer a voluntary seed certification program” for industrial hemp.

State Rep. Dave Considine said while he believes parts of the bill could be improved, he believes hemp is “a part of Wisconsin’s agricultural future.”

“Farmers and citizens across our state are learning more about hemp and realizing that it could be a great opportunity for our agricultural economy,” he said in an Urban Milwaukee report.  “With this broadening support, there is no good reason industrial hemp should still be illegal in our state.”

The bill next heads to the desk of Gov. Scott Walker for his signature.

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