All across the United States, products containing CBD have been touted for their therapeutic effects for those who are suffering from a variety of health conditions. CBD is most often found in the form of capsules, oils, sprays, lotions, edibles, balms, or vapes, and is sold in stores nationwide and online.
Although recreational cannabis is legal in nine states in the U.S and medical marijuana is legal in 31 states, Wisconsin doesn’t fall on either list, which is why there is a lot of confusion surrounding the legality of CBD in the state.
One of the major factors that comes into play is the difference between CBD and THC. While both compounds are derived from the cannabis plant, they have very different effects when smoked or consumed. THC is known for its psychoactive effects and is notorious for making users high. CBD, on the other hand, doesn’t have any psychoactive effects. Let’s take a closer look at everything that you need to know about CBD in Wisconsin.
Is CBD Legal in Wisconsin?
The legal status of CBD all comes down to its source. For those who aren’t in the know, CBD can be derived from either hemp or marijuana, and each falls within different legal frameworks. The state of Wisconsin has a ban on the use of both medical and recreational marijuana, which makes it one of the most repressive states in terms of cannabis policies in the US.
Just like in most states where marijuana hasn’t been decriminalized, the law in Wisconsin restricts medical marijuana for very specific individuals. Only patients who have been diagnosed with a rare form of epilepsy are legally allowed to consume marijuana-derived CBD oil.
While steps are being made to implement a proper medical marijuana program in the state, lawmakers remain slow to respond.
Here’s where it gets really interesting with regards to CBD. While any form of marijuana is illegal, the states industrial hemp program is thriving. So long as a permit is secured and the rules of the WI Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection agency are abided, local farmers are legally allowed to grow and sell industrial hemp.
Growers who are registered with the state program are protected from criminal prosecution. This means that any product that is derived from hemp, including hemp CBD oil, is legal. This is because under federal law, hemp and thus hemp derivatives, like CBD, are legal to possess and distribute.
Clash Over the Legality of CBD in Wisconsin
Back between 1908 until 1958, Wisconsin was known to be a great producer of industrial hemp. The last legal producer closed their operations following the World Wars. In April 2017, a law signed by Governor Scott Walker had industrial hemp farming in Wisconsin re-opened.
When debating over the bill, it was clearly stated to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and lawmakers, that farmers would grow hemp for the purpose of producing CBD oil. However, on April 27, Wisconsin’s Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a memo claiming that it is illegal to sell or possess CBD oil even if it contained only small amounts of THC, and breaking this law could result in prison time or a fine of up to $200.
The confusion on the legal status of CBD in Wisconsin led the State District Attorney Brad Schimel to clarify that any product that contains industrial hemp is legal in Wisconsin, so long as the product has less than 0.3% THC. However, this clarification made matters surrounding the legality of CBD even more confusing for some customers, store owners, hemp farmers, law enforces, and prosecutors.
Schimel then went on to explain that law enforcing agents are required to recognize the state’s protection and shouldn’t take enforcement against any products that contain industrial hemp, like CBD until the law has been changed in Congress. Essentially, because the legal status of CBD conflicts with the industrial hemp law of Wisconsin, law enforcement has been advised not to enforce the law as written.
To summarize, in April 2017 Governor Walker signed a bill that allowed people to possess CBD under certain circumstances. It stated that if the CBD was hemp-derived, it would automatically fall under the 0.3% THC threshold, and is therefore legal to sell, possess, and purchase. However, on April 27 2017, the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) decided to confuse everyone by issuing a memo that stated that possessing or distributing CBD in Wisconsin was illegal, even if it contained minimal levels of THC.
Then, a few days later Brad Schimel added to the disarray by reversing this statement. In other words, within a week, the DOJ had contradicted state and federal laws, and Schimel had contradicted the DOJ.
While things are still very murky in terms of the law, what we do know is that it seems to be okay to buy CBD products if they contain less than 0.3% THC and are derived from industrial hemp.
How to Obtain CBD in Wisconsin
Despite the confusing legal issues surrounding CBD in Wisconsin, the good news is that finding CBD in the state isn’t a difficult process. It’s estimated that around 350 farmers changed their business to hemp production within months of the law being changed in the state.
However, keep in mind that while hemp farming is a potentially profitable business, the associated start-up costs are high. This means that you shouldn’t expect to find cheap CBD products. In fact, if any particular product is significantly cheaper than the rest of the market, it’s likely that it’s a low-grade product. In oil form, it isn’t unusual for one gram (1,000 mg) of CBD to cost over $130.00. When purchasing any CBD product, you should make sure that the CBD has been derived from industrial hemp, and that the company uses supercritical CO2 extraction.
You could, of course, also buy your CBD products online. The online marketplace is home to a ton of CBD manufacturers and retailers that are ready to ship products right to your doorstep. Although many people are hesitant to buy these types of products online, one big advantage is that there is an endless number of products and brands to choose from.
Final Thoughts on CBD in Wisconsin
It is still illegal to sell or possess marijuana in Wisconsin, and the legal status surrounding CBD is confusing at best. But hopefully, after reading this article, you have more insight into the legal status of CBD in the state. CBD products that are hemp derived are legal to possess, sell, and distribute.