Wisconsin looking for hemp inspectors after dismantling state program

Wisconsin’s decision to punt hemp oversight to the feds didn’t solve its testing woes, as state regulators worry they won’t have enough inspectors who meet federal requirements.

Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection reported having just two inspectors certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to check hemp THC levels.

The agency recently put out a bulletin called “Hemp Samplers Needed” and asked residents to consider taking four USDA lessons to become certified sampling agents. Wisconsin promised would-be hemp inspectors that they could set their own fees.

Wisconsin had about 1,250 licensed hemp producers on about 14,000 acres in 2020; as of October 2021, the state had issued around 830 grower licenses for 5,302 acres.

Wisconsin cited budget pressures in September when it became the second state to hand off oversight to USDA after establishing its own program. North Carolina made the same decision a month earlier.

Three other states – Hawaii, Mississippi and New Hampshire – also chose USDA oversight, though those states never regulated hemp themselves.

At least four American Indian tribes have also chosen USDA hemp oversight.

Wisconsin Public Radio first reported the state’s inspector shortage.