Is CBD Oil Legal To Buy in Wisconsin?
Six months after the bill was signed into law, people are still asking “is CBD oil legal to buy in Wisconsin?” On November 30th, 2017, the state of Wisconsin joined dozens of other states across America in opening up access for hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD). But today, state residents are still confused about the extent of the law.
Therapeutic use of CBD oil is growing in popularity across the U.S., despite the fact it remains in a legal grey area at a federal level. While one FDA committee recently recommended CBD oil for approval for the treatment of retractable epilepsy, other federal departments, mainly the Drug Enforcement Agency, continue to classify the substance as a prohibited one.
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Residents in states like Wisconsin are slowly coming to understand that CBD is not controversial. It is not psychoactive, like THC-heavy cannabis products, and it is generally safe to use. There are now more than 17 states with provisions for CBD specifically.
Is CBD Oil Legal to Buy in Wisconsin?
Yet, despite the ruling last year, which legalized cultivation and production of hemp in the state of Wisconsin, it’s not as if the situation is clear-cut. Hemp farmers, CBD oil distributors, and retail outlets are all nervous that they have placed their bets on the wrong side of the law. Just what is going on with CBD oil in the state of Wisconsin? The latest notice from Wisconsin’s Department of Justice is nothing less than hugely confusing.
As mentioned, state politicians passed a bill in late 2017, which allowed state residents to “plant, grow, cultivate, harvest, sample, test, process, transport, transfer, take possession of, sell, import, and export industrial hemp … to the greatest extent allowed under federal law.” In response, many farmers started investing in hemp production and applied to acquire a state license. Many of these farmers were intent on growing hemp specifically to produce and sell CBD oil.
The dreams of these farmers came to a screeching halt in April 2018, just before the deadline for license applications. In a surprising, unexpected move, the Wisconsin State Department of Justice issued a declaration that the possession and sale of CBD oil remained illegal in the state. Farmers were thoroughly taken aback by this decree. 
Per explanation, Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel said in a news release:
"Law enforcement has encountered examples of products claiming to be CBD oil that resulted in people getting hurt and sick. We have an obligation to protect public health and safety." However, farmers, dispensers, and CBD oil users do not consider the prohibition fair.
Dispensaries are also feeling the heat. One owner of such a retail store is perplexed about the recent turn of events and nervous about the future of CBD oil sales. According to Joel Peterson, he received a notice from the Department of Justice threatening to take action against him. He says, “It's scary because myself and a lot of other people have several thousand dollars invested.”
According to the notice that Peterson received, “an individual may possess CBD only if he/she has a doctor's certification .... only a physician or pharmacy may sell CBD.” Because Peterson’s shop is not a pharmacy, he is, according to the DoJs notice, not licensed to sell CBD oil. Confusingly, this is despite the fact that he already has a legal license to process, import, export, sample and sell it.
Suddenly, in Wisconsin, the fate of hundreds of farmers, CBD oil processors and retail stores is at stake because of a conflict between the 2017 enactment for legal hemp cultivation, and an opinion from the Wisconsin State Department of Justice. Not to mention the effect the legislation will have on the many state residents using CBD oil to treat illness and disease.
Farmers are also confused about what they will do with their hemp crops if they are not able to take advantage of the growing demand for CBD oil by processing the plants themselves. Some government officials seem to suggest they will have to export it over state lines, but even this option is risky. There are no federal guidelines for the movement of hemp products from state to state.
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The Future of CBD Oil in Wisconsin
With the seeming change of heart by the Wisconsin Department of Justice on CBD oil, the future of CBD oil is confusing at best. Is CBD oil legal to buy in Wisconsin? Will legislation become so restrictive that it essentially becomes impossible to grow, process and sell hemp?
State residents, for now, will have to be patient. However, there is already pushback from patients, physicians, farmers and sellers of CBD oil - they want legal access, and they also want clear legislation on the issue.
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For example, many current retailers of the product, including Peterson, has no intention of pulling the products from his shelves, despite his nervousness about the reaction of the Wisconsin Department of Justice.
In another example of defiance, a CBD oil distributor has made it clear that they will take on the risk for their retailers, “It seems like the state is overreaching. We are willing to pay their fine and take the litigation costs unto ourselves and hire our attorney for that customer, and take it as far as physically necessary." 
As has happened in other states, it's very likely that the regulatory process will fall in line with public opinion in Wisconsin, especially considering the backlash that is already starting to develop. Wisconsin failed to create clear legislation around the sale, cultivation, and possession of CBD oil, even if it allowed for the sale, cultivation, and possession of hemp. One can only assume that CBD activists will push for clarification through the Wisconsin court system.
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