Northern Wisconsin NORML founder and current board member Jay Selthofner recently covered The 2020 Wisconsin Hemp Hero Awards on his blog and helped provide some insight into the future of cannabis reform in Wisconsin:
Hemp is only one aspect of cannabis reform and with only a hundredth of a percent now distinguishing hemp from marijuana, are the recently named “Hemp Heros” in Wisconsin going to understand the complexity of the issues at hand and reform the cannabis laws beyond “Industrial Hemp”.
The recent articles naming the legislators receiving the inaugural awards shows the bipartisan and overwhelming support for the passage of our Industrial Hemp Program for Wisconsin, but when we compare these awards to the the grades NORML assigns them and history of the legislators receiving the awards, I do not know if I can completely agree with the list or the term hero applied so liberally.
The Democrats Pocan and Taylor have consistently supported hemp cannabis reform both receiving an A+ grade from NORML, while Rep. Considine received a B+. On the Republican side, only Senator Patrick Testin received a passing grade, while Rep. Kurtz and Congressman Grothman continue to fail on the issue of total plant freedom/marijuana reform in the eyes of NORML.
I am not saying these gentleman do not need to be recognized for their work on industrial hemp, but I am saying these elected officials need to recognize there is still work to be done on the issue.
Here is the article that prompted my comments above:
With a gubernatorial proclamation declaring October 18 as “Wisconsin Hemp Day”, the Wisconsin Hemp Alliance is recognizing six legislators for their outstanding leadership in promoting hemp and their unwavering commitment to fighting for our state’s hemp farmers.
“The last four years have seen a whirlwind of activity for the movement to legalize hemp in Wisconsin and around the country”, stated Rob Richard, President of the Wisconsin Hemp Alliance. “Fortunately, Wisconsin has an incredible bi-partisan group of leaders at both the state and federal level who vigorously and consistently fight to regulate hemp as an agricultural commodity and give our farmers the opportunity to grow and process this very versatile and sustainable crop.”
The Hemp Hero Award is given in recognition of exceptional leadership and support for the hemp industry. Meeting this threshold may include; authoring or co-sponsoring legislation to foster research, regulation and market opportunities for hemp and hemp by-products; co-signing letters to government leaders or agency officials to help break down bureaucratic barriers; and actively promoting hemp and hemp farmers in the media, at conferences or other public gatherings.
Recipients of the inaugural 2020 “Hemp Hero” awards are:
State Senator Patrick Testin (R-Stevens Point)
State Senator Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee)
State Representative Tony Kurtz (R-Wonewoc)
State Representative Dave Considine (D-Baraboo)
Congressman Mark Pocan (D, WI 2nd District)
Congressman Glenn Grothman (R, WI 6th District)
“After nearly 70 years of hemp prohibition, we need to thank all those officials who did not forget Wisconsin’s long and storied history of being a national leader in hemp production in the first half of the twentieth century. Along with Pocan and Grothman, Congressman Ron Kind, Congressman Mike Gallagher, Congresswoman Gwen Moore, Senator Tammy Baldwin and Senator Ron Johnson all supported the position to remove hemp from the Controlled Substances Act,” Richard concluded. “Also, considering that the Wisconsin Legislature was the first legislative body in the country to unanimously pass a hemp pilot program into law, we are very fortunate to have such strong support amongst the congressional delegation and state legislature for this new and growing industry.” – source
Wisconsin’s hemp industry is also applauding Thursday’s decision by the state to continue operating under the original pilot program for another year instead of transitioning to the new state plan with different USDA restrictions. National Hemp Day was February 4th. – source