How to Get a CBD License in Wisconsin & Start Your Business

Read Time: 6 min

If you want to enter the rapidly growing CBD industry in Wisconsin, this all-encompassing guide is your roadmap to smoothly navigate the entire process. Launching a CBD business in the Badger State demands a thorough grasp of the legal landscape, the licensing protocols, and the essential compliance criteria. Within this guide, we’ll take you through every phase, starting with the acquisition of a Wisconsin CBD license. Continuing with strategies to remain compliant with evolving regulations so you can secure the long-term success of your enterprise.

How to Start a CBD Business in Wisconsin

A CBD sign for how to get a CBD license in Wisconsin.

Starting a CBD business in Wisconsin demands meticulous planning and adherence to legal guidelines. Your journey begins with strategic planning, where you craft a comprehensive business strategy. This should outline your objectives, product lineup, marketing approaches, pricing, and operational tactics. This strategic roadmap becomes your guiding light as you navigate the dynamic landscape of the CBD market. Alongside your business strategy, it’s crucial to choose an appropriate legal structure for your enterprise. Options include an LLC, partnership, or corporation, considering the implications for income generation and taxation.

Establishing a solid financial foundation with a dedicated business bank account provides access to credit cards and financing options that aid in building your business credit and pave the way for future funding and expansion.

In Wisconsin, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) oversees hemp-related applications and inquiries. To ensure smooth operations concerning tax obligations, secure an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. Remember that obtaining a Wisconsin CBD license is a prerequisite for engaging in CBD-related activities.

License requirements may vary. But if your plans involve selling, producing, or distributing hemp in Wisconsin, obtaining a license is essential. Prioritize educating your staff about CBD products and compliance. Furthermore, consider acquiring business insurance for protection and be prepared to renew your CBD license as required, with renewal details found in the relevant section.

How to Get a CBD License in Wisconsin

To initiate the application process, first make an account on the Hemp eManagement Platform (HeMP).

Next, start from your homepage, access the “Application and License” tab, then click “Applications.” To create a new USDA Wisconsin CBD license application, click “New” right next to “My Applications.” Then choose the appropriate account and State/Territory for your hemp cultivation. If your state isn’t listed, you can find contact information through the provided link.

Now, click “Start Application.” In the ensuing pop-up, complete the required fields and then click “Save.”
You will be guided to an application page where you can include key participants—individuals who have financial stakes in the hemp entity. Key participants can include owners, partners, and executives. To complete the application, upload a criminal history report for each key participant. Add other documentation as needed. Verify the information’s accuracy, then click “Sign & Submit” to finalize your application.

Your “Application Status” will change to “Submitted.” Upon approval, you’ll receive an email from DHPP outlining your responsibilities. Generate a PDF copy using the button on the license application page and download supporting documents from the licensee application page.

A document with a green checklist.

CBD License Application Requirements for Wisconsin

There’s no specific information on what exactly you need for a Wisconsin CBD license from the USDA. However, here are the typical documents and requirements for obtaining a license to grow hemp:

  • Hemp Producer License Application: You would need to complete and submit a hemp producer license application. The application form can be obtained from the USDA’s Domestic Hemp Production Program or their website.
  • FBI Criminal Background Check: Key participants in the hemp cultivation process need to undergo an FBI background check.
  • Legal Documentation: You might need to provide legal documents, such as proof of land ownership or lease agreements for the land on which you plan to grow hemp. The USDA and state authorities would want to confirm that you have a legitimate right to cultivate hemp.
  • Site-Specific Information: You may need to provide detailed information about the location where you intend to grow hemp. This could include GPS coordinates, acreage, and field or greenhouse diagrams.
  • Crop Plan: A detailed crop plan is often required. It should outline what hemp varieties you intend to grow, the intended use of the hemp, and cultivation practices.
  • Sampling and Testing Plan: Some states and the USDA require a plan for the sampling and testing of your hemp crop. With it, you ensure your business complies with the legal limit for THC content (0.3% or lower).

Laws & Regulations for Selling CBD in Wisconsin

Before delving into Wisconsin CBD license regulations, let’s first clarify two crucial terms: Industrial hemp is a derivative of the Cannabis sativa plant, primarily rich in CBD and containing 0.3% THC or less, the psychoactive element of cannabis. Marijuana, also derived from Cannabis sativa, has a THC content exceeding 0.3%.

Here are some key points regarding cannabis laws in Wisconsin:

Wisconsin currently lacks provisions for medical or recreational marijuana cultivation, sale, possession, or consumption. Only individuals with a doctor’s prescription for a state-qualifying condition (like seizure disorders) can legally grow, possess, and use marijuana. However, the prescribed marijuana must be non-psychoactive, according to the “low THC law,” with no specified THC limit. In 2017, Wisconsin established a pilot program for industrial hemp, following the 2018 US Farm Bill‘s update. In Wisconsin, it is legal to grow, reap, trade, buy, own, and consume goods derived from industrial hemp within the bounds of the law.

How to Renew Your CBD License in Wisconsin

A document for how to get a CBD license in Wisconsin.

The license renewal process involves several straightforward steps. You can renew your Wisconsin CBD license within 120 days of its expiration date.

To begin, navigate to the homepage and select the “Application and License” tab, followed by the “Licenses” subtab to access your license information. Locate your current license, click the associated “License Number,” then select the “Renew” option on your license details page. In a subsequent pop-up, confirm your renewal, ensuring you include an updated FBI Identity History Summary. You’ll then be directed to a new application record labeled as a “Renewal.” To make any necessary updates, click “Edit.” Review and modify key participant information in the “Key Participants” section. If needed, add new participants or edit existing records, and upload criminal history reports. Once all the information is complete, press “Sign & Submit” to certify the accuracy of your submission, and your application status will change to “Submitted.” Upon approval, you will receive an email confirming your license’s issuance on the renewal date.

Start Selling CBD in Wisconsin

To succeed in the competitive CBD market, start by identifying your target audience and adhering to local and federal CBD regulations. Create a solid business plan, obtain а Wisconsin CBD license, and secure reliable merchant services. Decide whether to produce your products or partner with established brands, and establish pricing, shipping, and marketing strategies. Utilize digital marketing channels and consider industry trade shows for growth. When choosing an eCommerce platform for your CBD website, consider options like Shopify, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce, and partner with a payment provider offering specialized CBD merchant accounts for smooth, compliant transactions.

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Wisconsin CBD License: FAQs

Yes, CBD is legal in Wisconsin. Following the passage of the 2018 US Farm Bill, Wisconsin adapted its industrial hemp pilot program to align with federal law, allowing the cultivation, sale, and possession of CBD products derived from industrial hemp with a THC content of 0.3% or less.

How much does a CBD license cost in Wisconsin?

Since the USDA hemp production program is a federal program, you don’t have to pay anything for a CBD license in Wisconsin.

Can you sell CBD without a license in Wisconsin?

The state of Wisconsin has regulations for selling CBD products, and businesses are required to obtain the necessary licenses to do so. It’s important to check with the most current state and local regulations, as laws regarding CBD may change over time. To ensure compliance and avoid legal issues, it is recommended that you obtain the required licenses and permits before selling CBD products in Wisconsin.

How long is a CBD license valid in Wisconsin?

A CBD license in Wisconsin is valid for three years, after which you’ll have to renew it. The USDA recommends you renew your Wisconsin CBD license 120 days before it expires.

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