Understanding Legal Issues Surrounding CBD and Industrial Hemp in Wisconsin

The recent legalization of industrial hemp containing less than 0.3% delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but which is otherwise identical to marijuana, means that the use of cannabidiol (CBD) is legal nationwide, including the State of Wisconsin.

CBD in a form without psychoactive effect is specifically made lawful to possess under Wisconsin law, despite the fact that it comes from marijuana plants. According to Wis. Stat. §§ 94.67(15r) and 961.14(4)(t)1, the delta-9 THC content of the marijuana plant parts containing the cannabidiol must be less than 0.3% to be considered lawful.

“Industrial hemp” is also now lawful to possess under federal law. It defines “industrial hemp” to be “the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 (THC) concentration of not more than 0.3 precent on a dry weight basis.”

Under federal law, industrial hemp is specifically removed from the coverage of the federal Controlled Substances Act, and is made specifically lawful to sell and possess nationwide.

Because industrial hemp is now removed from the coverage of the federal Controlled Substances Act, it is also no longer a controlled substance under Wisconsin law.

Accordingly, CBD and industrial hemp are non-contraband substances which may be legally possessed.

If CBD is legal in Wisconsin, what is the problem?

Although CBD and industrial hemp are legal, potential complications can arise for individuals who use them.

It is important to note that cannabis containing enough delta-9 THC to meet the definition of THC, and CBD/hemp flowers containing less than 0.3% delta-9 THC as a percentage of dry weight, look and smell identical.

Thus, use of lawful CBD/hemp products can still lead to snags in employment, contacts with law enforcement, and other contexts. This is due largely to limitations in both product labeling and in certain drug testing methods. Such situations can potentially lead to adverse consequences for an individual.

The criminal defense attorneys at Murphy Desmond are well-versed on the legality of CBD and industrial hemp. If you are concerned about the lawfulness of these products as it pertains to your employment and other legal protections, or you wish to explore using lawful CBD products in Wisconsin, contact Murphy Desmond S.C. at email@murphydesmond.com or call 608.257.7181.

References used for this article include:

Wis. Stat. §§ 94.67(15r) and 961.14(4)(t)1
7 U.S.C. § 1639o(1)
Pub. L. 115-334, Title XII, Subtitle F, § 12619
7 U.S.C. § 1639o note, Pub. L. 115-334, Title X, § 10114(b)
      Pub. L. 115-334 is located at 132 Stat. 4914
Wis. Stat. §§ 961.11(4g) and 961.14 (intro)

Published March 22, 2023