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The future of CBD and Marijuana in Wisconsin

MADISON (WKOW) —  A panel of health experts, attorneys, and state lawmakers is taking a closer look at the legal and health issues surrounding Cannabidiol and Marijuana.

With a new Democratic governor in office, some lawmakers are hopeful, as a Wisconsin health panel hosted a discussion on possible future legislation.

State Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison) said while the legislature passed the industrial hemp bill unanimously in November of 2017, there are still a lot of unknowns about CBD and it’s long-term effects.

“It is regularly unregulated,” said Taylor. “Does the legislature have a role in that, yes it does, but we do not have nearly the research on CBD than we have on cannabis.”

CBD is derived from hemp and as long as it contains less than 0.3% of THC it is legal in Wisconsin. The 2018 farm bill also designated hemp as an agricultural crop. However, the legality of products containing CBD oil has created confusion.

State Senator Patrick Testin (R-Stevens Point) authored the 2017 industrial hemp bill and launched the pilot program, but says lawmakers may try to pass more regulations on CBD this session.

Also back in the spotlight, legalizing medical marijuana. Governor Tony Evers has said he’s supportive of allowing doctors to recommend cannabis to treat patients and letting voters decide if it should be legal for recreational use.

In November, 16 counties asked voters their opinion through referendum if marijuana should be legal. A majority of counties showed overwhelming support. With Evers on board, lawmakers believe there’s a possibility of making strides to either decriminalize or implement a medical marijuana program.

“I think politically there are a lot of hurdles we have to jump, but I do see at least in my perspective and my own experiences an openness to explore options,” said Testin.

Dr. Mike Miller, past President of American Society of Addiction Medicine, help those with addiction. He said while Republicans and Democrats typically stand on different sides on the topic of marijuana, he believes decriminalizing is an area to find common ground.

“We have a lot of social problems that derived from the war on drugs; filling up prisons and spending tax dollars on incarceration that might be able to be avoided,” said Miller.

However, Republican leaders say they won’t support recreational use, and only some are open to making it legal for medical use.

“I don’t know if we get there this session or next session, but I think it’s important if we want to have a public debate we be willing to put our names out there,” said Testin.

The pressure to act is rising as neighboring states like Illinois and Michigan are making strides to legalize marijuana. One potential issue some lawmakers fear is people driving across the border to get the substance.

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Emilee Fannon

Capital Bureau Chief

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