FOX 11 Investigates confusion surrounding CBD oil

(WLUK) -- For the first time in decades, farmers across Wisconsin are growing industrial hemp.

John Eichorst from Mount Horeb is one of nearly 200 people growing hemp under a new state pilot program.

"You don’t get too many chances to get in on the ground level for something," Eichorst said.


Eichorst is planning to have his hemp processed for CBD oil.

When asked what CBD oil is, Micah Corrigan, the manager of B-Alive Nutrition Center in Ashwaubenon, replied, "It stands for cannabidiol and it is a naturally occurring chemical found in hemp."

"The CBD that we’re selling here at B-Alive comes from industrial hemp, which is legal from the 2014 Farm Bill. That’s why we’re allowed to sell it," Corrigan said.

Corrigan says there has been some confusion surrounding CBD oil.

"I think the confusing part at first was, is this coming from marijuana and is this going to get me high? I think that is a major question that a lot of customers had was, is CBD going to get me high? It’s not going to get you high," Corrigan said.

A memo released in April by the state Department of Justice added to the confusion.

The memo said that CBD oil was "...illegal to possess or distribute..." in the state, unless someone had a prescription.

"That raised a huge red flag with us," said Rob Richard from the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation.

"It was a huge concern because you had probably a good number of farmers, a good number of processors who were already licensed by DATCP, now saying that license basically is no good," Richard said.

"We ran into a challenge that there was CBD oil being sold in retail outlets in Wisconsin that was completely unregulated," Attorney General Brad Schimel told FOX 11.

Within two weeks of the memo, Schimel met with several people, including Richard, to talk about the issue.

"Once we had the conversation, I think we all came to an understanding," Richard said.

Schimel clarified the previous memo, writing, "Farmers who participate in this program and follow the rules are exempt from criminal prosecution, and products made from industrial hemp, including CBD, are lawful."

"What is legal is when it is produced through a research program authorized by the U.S. Farm Bill that was passed in 2014," Schimel said.

That includes CBD oil that comes from industrial hemp grown in Wisconsin as part of the state's new pilot program.

Schimel also noted that federal laws surrounding industrial hemp will likely be changing. There is a proposal being discussed in Washington that would legalize industrial hemp and treat it as a crop.

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