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Milwaukee committee reviewing potential hemp production plan

Posted at 6:06 PM, Apr 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-23 05:27:41-04

Experts and researchers presented at the Milwaukee County Parks and Recreation Committee meeting clash over the possibility of Milwaukee County growing hemp.

Proponents of the county growing hemp, like County Supervisor Sylvia Ortiz Velez, want the greenhouses behind the Mitchell Domes in Milwaukee to be the site where the county would grow the hemp.

During the meeting, there were comments that confused members about the hemp, often calling it weed, which is not legal in Milwaukee.

James Tarantino, the director of recreation and business services, shared his research on the prospects of the county growing hemp. A study showed it would take hundreds of thousands of dollars in start up costs, profits could reach half a million dollars but ultimately, according to that research, the greenhouses behind the Mitchell Domes would not be a viable option because they don’t have enough land.

Ortiz-Velez disagrees, along with State Senator Lena Taylor who brought along a hemp expert from Colorado. That expert said the greenhouse behind the domes are the perfect size for hemp growth and the profit could double current estimations. Ultimately Tarantino recommended the county wait.

“All of these things need to be resolved at the higher level at the state and federal level before we can see where the county fits into it,” Tarantino said.

There was no action in today’s meeting, nor any scheduled for a future date. But all parties in the parks and recreation agree that more conversation and education need to happen around the topic.