Currently, the Wisconsin Hemp Pilot Research Program is operating under the authority of the 2014 Farm Bill, 2017 Wisconsin Act 100, and 2019 Wisconsin Act 68. The program has operated under the 2014 Farm Bill for the last three years and will continue to operate under the 2014 Farm Bill until October 31, 2020.
Under the 2018 Farm Bill, the authority for the pilot research program expires on October 31, 2020. Wisconsin must have a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)-approved state plan in place to continue state-licensed hemp production. The plan must be compliant with the 2018 Farm Bill and USDA’s interim final rule for hemp production.
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has submitted a proposed state plan to USDA and USDA is currently reviewing the plan. Pending USDA’s approval of Wisconsin’s state plan for hemp production, new hemp program rules will start November 1, 2020.
New Hemp Program Rules Start November 1
Current hemp licensees should make note of the following in regards to expected program changes starting November 1, 2020:
DATCP will automatically provide a transitional license to you at no cost. The transitional license covers the time period from November 1-December 31, 2020. This allows for you to maintain your 2020 license and registration through the end of the current license period.
Hemp lot samples collected by DATCP on or before October 31, 2020, will have THC test results determined under the pilot program rules. Hemp lot samples collected by DATCP on and after November 1, 2020, will be subject to new rules that result in lower acceptable hemp THC levels.
As required by new federal rules, the method DATCP uses for testing and calculating THC levels will not change, but the way DATCP assesses the result as a pass or a fail is changing.
Starting November 1, 2020, DATCP must determine THC results using a laboratory margin of error, otherwise referred to as a measurement of uncertainty. This provides a range on either side of the actual result. If 0.300% is included within this range, the sample passes regulatory testing.
For example, if a hemp sample’s reported THC content concentration level on a dry weight basis is 0.350% and the measurement of uncertainty is +/-0.0600%, the measured THC content concentration level on a dry weight basis for this sample ranges from 0.290% to 0.410%. Because 0.300% is within that distribution or range, the sample, and the lot it represents, is considered hemp.
The required use of a measurement of uncertainty under the new rules will result in a smaller range for a passing THC level.
DATCP encourages current pilot program participants to have their hemp sampled and harvested before October 31, 2020.