MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers on
Tuesday signed into law a bipartisan bill that makes
Wisconsin’s hemp-growing program permanent as it
continues to surge in popularity in just its second year.
Hailed by supporters as
Wisconsin’s “comeback crop,” hemp is seeing renewed
popularity in large part because of the growth in the
market for CBD, a legal, therapeutic compound extracted
from the cannabis plant that marketers say can treat a
range of ailments without getting users high. It's widely
marketed in oils, lotions and foods.
Hemp is also used to make a
variety of products, including rope, fabrics, lotions and
“I was proud to sign this
collaborative, bipartisan bill into law today to ensure
the continued success of our hemp program and the many new
opportunities hemp provides to Wisconsin farmers,” Evers
said in a statement. He signed the bill in his office
surrounded by lawmakers, hemp growers, processers,
retailers and consumers of products made with hemp.
Wisconsin began a hemp
pilot program in 2018, using about 250 licenses to grow
the crop that is a form of cannabis. This year, 1,247 hemp
growers and 556 hemp processors were licensed and
registered with the state Department of Agriculture, Trade
and Consumer Protection.
While still a small, niche
industry compared to other cash crops, proponents of hemp
say its strong growth potential holds promise for farmers
looking to diversify. One of the bill’s co-sponsors,
Republican Rep. Tony Kurtz, is a hemp farmer.
“This is still an
emerging industry,” Kurtz said in a statement. “Still,
I believe that Wisconsin can be a leader in hemp
The bill Evers signed
brings Wisconsin’s program into line with requirements
under the 2018 farm bill, making mostly technical changes.
It does change state law to allow for a THC concentration
of up to .03% in the bloodstream, to account for people
who may be taking legal products containing CBD with trace
amounts of THC.
Hemp is bred to contain
less than 0.3% of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis
that gets people high. Marijuana seized by federal
officials averages about 12% THC. Any hemp crop that is
above the 0.3% threshold for THC must be destroyed.
Wisconsin joins six other
states with similar laws allowing for people to legally
have trace amounts of THC in their blood.
While the hemp program has
bipartisan support, Evers and Democrats have not been
successful in their push to legalize medical marijuana and
decriminalize small amounts of pot. A bill to fully
legalize recreational marijuana has also gone nowhere.
OKs ban on plastic straws; mayor still has to sign
MILWAUKEE — The
Milwaukee Common Council approved a ban on single-use
plastic straws, but customers can still get them by
The ordinance passed
Tuesday on a 13-2 vote and now goes to Mayor Tom
Barrett for his signature. His office said Barrett
“supports the concept” but needs to review the
ordinance before deciding in the coming week whether
to sign it.
The ordinance says that
beginning April 14, 2020, restaurants and bars will be
prohibited from providing plastic straws if a customer
doesn’t ask for one.
Milwaukee would be
joining a growing list of cities that are passing
similar ordinances, including Seattle, Fort Myers,
Florida, and Washington, D.C. California and Oregon
have passed statewide bans.
Supreme Court table toppled, police take away man
MADISON — Wisconsin
Capitol Police have taken a man into custody after
he apparently flipped over a huge, ornate table
that separates the justices from attorneys in the
state Supreme Court chamber.
The incident began
Tuesday afternoon when a loud crash echoed through
the Capitol. Officers sprinted into the Supreme
Court chamber to find the table lying on its side,
the tabletop broken and separated from the base.
The room wasn’t in use.
The man was blocked
from sight behind the table as officers subdued
him. As he was led away he could be heard saying
to officers “This is a cool building, don’t
Administration spokeswoman Tia Torhorst says
Capitol Police is investigating.
want more diaper-changing stations
Democratic lawmakers want more diaper-changing
stations in Wisconsin.
Brostoff and David Crowley along with Sen.
Chris Larson have introduced a bill that would
require public and commercial buildings built
or renovated after the bill becomes law to
have diaper-changing stations in every
restroom. Owners of commercial buildings with
public restrooms would have to post signs
identifying bathrooms with changing stations.
he’s a new father and he’s constantly
struck by how few businesses have changing
stations and how many place them only in
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority
Leader Scott Fitzgerald didn’t immediately
respond to emails inquiring about Republican
support for the proposal.