Yes. In Wisconsin, cannabidiol (CBD) has been legal for medical use since 2014, while hemp-derived CBD is available for adults 18 and older. In fact, Wisconsin was historically one of the nation's largest producers of hemp until it was prohibited federally in 1958.
CBD oil was legalized in Wisconsin for strict medical purposes under a bill dubbed Lydia's Law in 2014. It was then legalized in 2017 for a more broad list of medical purposes for adults 18 and older, along with a pilot hemp production program. Those two medical CBD laws were limited, labeled as an “investigational drug permit” issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Wisconsin's new legislation seeks to match the federal definition of hemp as laid out by the 2018 Farm Bill, which defines hemp as cannabis that contains less than 0.3% THC.
What is CBD?
CBD is the second-most-abundant cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant behind THC, which is the compound that creates intoxicating effects. CBD is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid that is widely perceived to offer therapeutic health benefits for several conditions, demonstrating anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, and seizure-suppressant properties, while also showcasing potential for pain relief.
Why is CBD sometimes illegal?
Even though hemp strains don't produce enough THC to cause intoxication, all types of cannabis, including hemp, were considered illegal under the 1970 Federal Controlled Substances Act. The legislation swept all cannabis into Schedule 1, which defined cannabis as a substance with a high potential for abuse, no accepted medical use, and a likelihood for addiction.
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp cultivation and created a pathway to remove some cannabis from Schedule 1 by creating a legal threshold: Hemp is cannabis that contains less than 0.3% THC by weight, and marijuana is cannabis that contains more than 0.3% THC. Hemp-derived CBD was thus descheduled by the bill, but CBD that is derived from the marijuana plant is still considered federally illegal because marijuana is categorized as a Schedule 1 substance.
The 2018 Farm Bill also presented the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with the authority to regulate CBD's labeling, therapeutic claims, and its use as a food additive. Despite the passage of the Farm Bill, the FDA has taken the stance that even hemp-derived CBD may not be added to food and beverages, nor marketed as dietary supplements. While the FDA has begun a process of reevaluating its stance on such CBD products, it has yet to revise its rules or specifically regulate CBD products. The FDA has been strict when it comes to health claims and content that could be construed as medical advice about CBD.
Federal law still highly regulates the production and sale of hemp, and its cannabinoids, including CBD. The Farm Bill also provides that states may also regulate and even prohibit CBD cultivation and commerce. In addition, states may attempt to regulate CBD food, beverage, dietary supplement, and cosmetic products, independently of the FDA finalizing its views on such products.
Wisconsin CBD laws
CBD oil was legalized for medical use in Wisconsin in 2014. The legislation, known as Lydia's Law but formally called the Wisconsin Act 267, legalized CBD oil but with very strict medical regulations. It was permitted primarily for those with seizure conditions.
In 2017, CBD oil was legalized in Wisconsin when SB 10 was signed into law by Republican Gov. Scott Walker. Introduced in the Senate and it passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in the state Senate by a vote of 31-1. The bill legalized possession of CBD oil in the state with a doctor's recommendation.
Wisconsin's SB 10 had the foresight to require the state government to follow federal law if and when CBD oil was rescheduled at the national level. In March 2017, the Wisconsin Assembly passed Assembly Bill 49, which is the partner bill of SB 10, unanimously with a vote of 98-0, loosening restrictions surrounding CBD.
A bill currently moving through the legislature would clarify and match Wisconsin's laws up with the 2018 Farm Bill, from a hemp production standpoint, defining the terms and THC percentage as lower than 0.3%. This bill, called Senate Bill 188 and its partner agricultural bill, Assembly Bill 206, both attempt to make a number of changes to Wisconsin's current law relating to industrial hemp. They are both in progress as of Sep. 26, 2019.
It's important to note that the FDA hasn't provided a definitive answer as to how or when it will revise its rules to make CBD or CBD oil legal to add to food or dietary supplements.
The only form of CBD so far that has been approved by the FDA is Epidiolex, a seizure medication manufactured by G.W. Pharmaceuticals.
Growing hemp in Wisconsin
In 2017, Wisconsin passed a pilot hemp program in order to study the growth, cultivation, and marketing of industrial hemp. Called SB 199, the industrial hemp research program was limited to hemp below 1% THC in content, but this could be amended to meet the lower federal limit of 0.3% THC.
In order to produce industrial hemp plants for CBD oil in Wisconsin, a license is mandatory. The state has a hemp production application process by which farmers need to re-apply for annually. There are both grower and processor licenses which allow people to cultivate, store, handle, and convert industrial hemp into a marketable form.
Both are lifetime licenses that they need only get once and then re-register annually. If applicants are processing only hemp that they grow, they need only the grower license. The registration is through the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). Here are the license fees for hemp:
- Grower license (one-time fee) : $150 (0-30 acres), $5/acre (31-199 acres), $1,000 (200 acres or more)
- Processor license: No fee
- License modification: $50, plus fee for additional acreage as listed above
- Grower registration annual fee: $350
- Processor registration annual fee: $100
- Sampling/testing: $250 per sample and test; each field and hemp variety needs at least one sample/test
CBD Labeling requirements, testing requirements, are being determined by the DATCP and are included in pending legislation.
Wisconsin CBD possession limits
There is no current possession limit for adults 18 and older with a medical CBD recommendation in Wisconsin. According to a Wisconsin Statute 961.32(2m) (b), you can possess CBD without any THC if you have medical certification to treat a qualifying condition.
Where to buy CBD in Wisconsin
You need to be at least 18 years old to purchase hemp-derived CBD in Wisconsin. There are many popular stores that sell CBD and hemp-based products throughout the state.
There is also the option to purchase online and have the CBD shipped to residents within Wisconsin. The U.S. Postal Service said it is legal to mail CBD if it meets the federal requirements of containing less than 0.3% THC. Weedmaps offers an extensive listing of reputable CBD brands and how to find them in your area.
How to read CBD labels and packaging
When looking for what CBD product to purchase, you need to take into account a few important ingredient list numbers and know what they mean when you see them.
The first thing you want to focus on is potency in milligrams. In addition, you will be able to find out, in general, the following information on most company's packaging for CBD product labels:
- Amount of active CBD per serving.
- Supplement Fact panel.
- Suggested use.
- Full spectrum, broad spectrum, or isolate.
- Batch or date code.
- Net weight.
- Manufacturer or distributor name.