From licensing rules to inspections to research, learn more about the uses and legalization of industrial hemp in Wisconsin at the Tuesday, Feb. 26 Tech Council Innovation Network luncheon meeting in Madison.

New for 2019, the luncheon will be held at The Coliseum Bar & Banquet on Madison’s E. Olin Ave. Registration and networking begin at 11:30 a.m., lunch at noon and the presentation at 12:30 p.m. The cost is $10 for students and returning veterans, $25 for individual members, $35 for non-members and included for Tech Council corporate members. Click here to register.

 Panelists are Bill Barker, associate dean for research at UW-Madison’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences; Brian Kuhn, director of the Bureau of Plant Industry at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection; and State Sen. Patrick Testin, R-Stevens Point, the author of 2018 legislation legalizing industrial hemp in the state.

Industrial hemp is defined as all parts of the Cannabis sativa plant and can be used in thousands of ways for products such as rope, textiles, bioplastics, food, insulation, biofuels and more. A century ago, Wisconsin was the nation’s leading hemp producer, but legal production ended in 1970 when the psychoactive chemical in cannabis was defined under federal law as a narcotic.

Federal law changed in 2005 by distinguishing hemp from marijuana and allowing states to establish pilot programs through universities and state ag agencies. A law creating a pilot program to reintroduce hemp was signed into law in November 2017.

“We look forward to hearing what possibilities hemp holds for farmers, processors and others in Wisconsin as the ag sector pursues new markets,” said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council.

The luncheon is sponsored by Old National Bank. The Wisconsin Technology Council is the independent, non-profit science and technology adviser to the governor and Legislature, with events, publications and outreach that contribute to Wisconsin’s tech-based economy. To join, go to or call 608-442-7557.