Some hail the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation (WFBF), in specific lobbyist Rob Richard, as the reason industrial hemp is legal in Wisconsin. I tend to think the passing of hemp reform in Wisconsin came through cultivation of years of support from all strains of activists in Wisconsin. I will give the Wisconsin Farm Bureau a huge shout out for taking industrial hemp over the finish line and immediately standing up for the CBD Industry when it came under attack from Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel back in 2018.
The Shepherd Express reported Rob Richard was the Senior Director of Governmental Relations at the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation (WFBF) from 2014 through 2019 and a key player in WFBF’s hemp legislation efforts. Although he left WFBF to pursue another opportunity, he’s still active in industrial hemp issues; he volunteers as president of the Wisconsin Hemp Alliance and occasionally helps the WFBF team advocate for hemp. On his Linkedin profile, he lists Director of Government Relations for Wisconsin Electric Cooperative Association since 2019.
I also have to give a huge shout out to the Wisconsin Farm Bureau again, but in a different fashion this time. The latest news article entitled Wisconsin Farm Bureau Members Set Policy it is reported that delegates made it clear they do not support the legalization of marijuana. But seeing the writing on the wall that no amount of opposition is going to stop the inevitable legalization of marijuana in Wisconsin, the delegates went on to add but if it happens, they want 60% of the tax revenue from medical and recreational marijuana to be designated for local transportation aid.
As legalization efforts are already fired up in Wisconsin with Governor Evers promising to include taxation of adult use cannabis in the 2023-24 budget. If Republicans again gut the taxation of regulated cannabis products from the budget I am positive that stand alone legislation on adult use marijuana will still be in play as 100% of the Democrats in the Assembly and Senate support total legalization and would vote YES. Everyone is eager to see how or if Republicans react, counter or cosponsor. We do not have a super majority of support in the GOP, but there are a few vocal Republican legislators that we will all have our eyes on in 2023.
We just need to keep our eye on the finish line. My math says if friendly Republicans joined forces with the Democrats and formed The Wisconsin Cannabis Caucus, they would have the numbers needed to move Wisconsin forward.