By Mary Freeman
On Nov. 30, 2017, Governor Walker signed SB119, a bill resurrecting the Hemp Industry in Wisconsin. Thirty-one states have already legalized the billion-dollar crop which allows family farms not only survival but the chance to thrive.
Hemp is used for bio fuel, medicine, oils and clothing among a myriad of other materials and products. This exciting, new Wisconsin industry is also a major opportunity for ecologically friendly job creation.
The first Wisconsin Hemp Expo is Friday March 9, from noon-7p.m. at the American Serb Hall in Milwaukee. I sat down with the Founder of the expo, Jim Naumann, to get more information.
Mary: What made you decide to organize this event?
Jim: I was in my living room when I realized Governor Walker signed the bill legalizing Industrial Hemp after it being illegal for over 60 years. I knew we needed an expo to educate people immediately. This is the beginning of a coordinated effort to get everyone connected who needs to be connected to have a successful, prosperous industry in Wisconsin. As of now, we have 27 vendors and five speaker groups participating.
Mary: Who are some of the other speakers and vendors?
Jim: The Department of Agriculture and Trade responsible for rules and licenses will be our opening speaker at 12:30. Gubernatorial candidate Matt Flynn will be one of our last speakers because of his strong commitment to full legalization of Cannabis, and Mandela Barnes who is running for Lieutenant Governor will also be speaking. One of the vendors I’m excited about is a staffing company that helps people find jobs within the industry.
Mary: How much does the event cost?
Jim: It’s free to the public.
Mary: How can this industry benefit Milwaukee people who don’t own land to farm Hemp?
Jim: You don’t have to be a grower to benefit. After Hemp is grown, there are dozens of jobs and opportunities that will come. After the agricultural components are done, the product will be sent to urban areas like Milwaukee, Madison and Green Bay to produce bio fuel, biodegradable plastics, paper, clothing, oils, medicines and other products and materials that can be made and sold.
Mary: Where can people find more information about Wisconsin’s first Hemp Expo?
Jim: Visit our website at www.wihempexpo.com and listen to Michelle Bryant’s radio show at 4 p.m. on March 6. We will talk in detail about Hemp and the expo. I look forward to seeing you on March 9!
President, Cream City Enterprises, Producers of the film, ZORBA THE BUDDHA
“Imagination is not a state: it is the human existence itself.” William Blake