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Viewpoint: Sen. Vinehout pleased with committee passage of hemp bill

"Hemp is an agricultural commodity and should be treated as such in Wisconsin law," Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, D-Alma, said when commenting on the recent passage of Senate Bill 119 by the Committee on Agriculture, Small Business and Tourism.

Vinehout, as a member of the committee, tried to amend the bill so it would "more properly treat the crop as a commodity under the law." Vinehout also tried to amend the bill to remove the background check on farmers who apply and receive a license from the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, stating, "farmers don't have a background check to grow corn or rye."

Vinehout also tried to make the bill fair for Wisconsin tribes. "Tribes are sovereign nations," Vinehout said. "Tribes should be able to create their own hemp pilot projects and develop their own grower licensing process.

"I am pleased this bill, albeit flawed, passed out of committee and I look forward to consideration by the full Senate soon. Hemp has tremendous possibilities in growing our rural economy both as an alternative crop and in the development of consumer products for our manufacturing sector. I urge the Assembly Agriculture Committee to take action on the hemp legislation and the governor to sign the bill into law."