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First hemp harvest begins after almost 50 yearsSubmitted: 09/23/2018
Angela Kim
Angela Kim
Reporter/Anchor
akim@wjfw.com

First hemp harvest begins after almost 50 years
WITTENBERG - Michael and Deb Omernik tied the knot a month ago. Their love blossomed into acres of farmland, 35 acres of it being hemp.

"We went on a date and he made me go to a hemp seminar," said Deb.

The Omerniks are a part of a pilot program that allows farmers to grow hemp. It is now legal after the crop was banned for almost 50 years.

"I was just looking for an alternative that works and makes some money for a smaller farmer," said Michael.

Senator Patrick Testin wanted to legalize growing hemp for a while. He says the crop can be used in many different industries, including textiles, brake pads, and CBD oil. 

A lot of people associate the plant hemp with marijuana, but it doesn't get them high. 

Testin was happily surprised that myth didn't discourage his fellow lawmakers.

"By the time it got to the floor and the Senate passed it unanimously, I was stunned," said Testin. "It's a historic moment for the agriculture industry in the state of Wisconsin."

"I think the connection between hemp and marijuana is so engrained in people," said Deb. "I always tell people, 'Come on out, you can smoke the whole field and nothing's going to happen.'"

Plus, it's a chance for the newlyweds hoping to make their mark in a new industry. 

"You [have to] try it," said Michael. 


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