TUE AM News: Panelists discuss benefits, potential drawbacks of medical marijuana; Ag groups urging USDA to change proposed hemp policy

— Panelists at a recent Milwaukee Press Club event downplayed potential safety concerns with cannabis, focusing instead on the positive health impacts of medical marijuana. 

Still, panelists agreed on the need for more research and education to mitigate the possible negative outcomes associated with using the drug. 

Cecilia Hillard, director of the Medical College of Wisconsin’s Neuroscience Research Center, argued that pairing the term “medicinal” with marijuana reduces the perception that using cannabis can cause any harm. 

“We have the people that are the ‘reefer madness’ types who say you’re going to go crazy if you use it, but we also have on the other side of the spectrum people who say it has absolutely no harm at all,” she said yesterday. “I think the literature suggests the truth is somewhere in the middle.” 

Meanwhile, Madison-area psychologist Angela Janis said “it’s hard to make the case” that medical marijuana couldn’t help many patients with few drawbacks. Janis is the former chief medical officer for LeafLine Labs, a medical cannabis company based in Minnesota. 

“Its risks are similar to other medicines; it doesn’t have much more significant risk,” she said. “We haven’t seen a lot of huge complications, like with some of our other pain medications.” 

Rep. Melissa Sargent, D-Madison, touted her efforts to bring recreational and medical marijuana to the state. She said legalizing and regulating the drug would help resolve social inequalities and bring a large black market industry into the mainstream. 

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, was scheduled to join the panel but canceled due to an illness. Vos has previously shown support for legalizing marijuana for medical use, while Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald remains staunchly against legalized marijuana of any kind. 

Marijuana has been approved for medical use in 33 states and both medical and recreational use in 11 states. Various bills to legalize medical cannabis in Wisconsin have been introduced over the years, but the issue has never been brought to a vote in the state Legislature. 

See more: http://www.wisbusiness.com/2020/panelists-discuss-benefits-potential-drawbacks-of-medical-marijuana/ 

— Wisconsin agriculture groups are urging the USDA to change elements of proposed federal hemp policy to make it more favorable to growers in the state. 

In a letter, the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, Wisconsin Hemp Alliance, Wisconsin Hemp Farmers and Manufacturers Association, and Wisconsin Farmers Union call for numerous changes to the proposed agency rule. 

Their top concerns include a requirement that all hemp testing be performed at laboratories registered with the Drug Enforcement Administration. The groups say only one such lab exists in the state, meaning the rule would cause “a severe backlog” for hemp testing in the state. 

They also take issue with a requirement that hemp crops must be harvested within 15 days of state or federal officials collecting a sample for testing compliance with maximum THC levels. In the letter, they argue the proposed restriction would significantly limit the harvest. 

“Our two years of experience in Wisconsin has shown that hemp is a difficult and time-consuming plant to harvest, and weather can have significant impacts on harvest timing,” they wrote. “This rule will simply not provide growers with enough time to harvest their hemp crops.” 

See the letter: http://wfbf.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/USDA-Interim-Hemp-Rule-Joint-Comments-2.pdf 

— Darin Von Ruden has been re-elected as president of the Wisconsin Farmers Union at the organization’s recent 89th annual state convention. 

Ruden is a dairy farmer in Westby, a longtime member of the union and a longtime leader in the state’s dairy community. He’s been the union’s District 5 director since 2008 and leads the WFU Foundation Board of Directors. 

He is also the founding member of Wisconsin Farmers Union Specialty Cheese, chairman of the Wisconsin Dairy Farmers Guild, and founding member of the Upper Midwest Milk Producers Association. 

See the release: http://www.wispolitics.com/2020/von-ruden-re-elected-wisconsin-farmers-union-president-2/ 

— Foxconn and Mortenson, the construction manager for the Mount Pleasant production site, have announced steel placement and vertical construction is underway for a planned smart manufacturing center. 

Large concrete panels are currently being installed and connected with nearly 4,000 steel beams. A release shows the 296,000-square-foot smart manufacturing center is meant to attract business partnerships to the Wisconn Valley Science and Technology Park. 

Foxconn founder Terry Gou recently told employees in Taiwan that production will begin this year at the manufacturing plant in Wisconsin. 

See the release: http://www.wisbusiness.com/2020/foxconn-vertical-construction-and-steel-placement-underway-at-smart-manufacturing-center-in-wisconsin/ 

— The UW Board of Regents this week will consider a proposal to raise tuition at six campuses for nonresident undergrads and graduate students.

The state-imposed tuition freeze, in place through the 2020-21 school year, only applies to resident undergrads.

The proposal, which would apply to the 2020-21 school year, seeks increases of between 0.99 percent and 25 percent for six campuses.

The largest proposed hike of 25 percent would apply to grad students in occupational therapy and communication sciences and disorders programs on the UW-Milwaukee campus. A resident in occupational therapy would pay $15,580 in 2020-21 compared to $12,464 now.

The smallest proposed increase of 0.99 percent would apply to nonresident undergrads at Whitewater.

The other four campuses that would be impacted are: Oshkosh, Platteville, River Falls and Stevens Point.

See the overview: http://bit.ly/390r

— UW Health has begun asking patients about recent travel to mainland China amid an ongoing outbreak of a new virus that’s infected at least 11 people in the United States. 

Over the past week, UW Health had been asking patients about travel history to Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak. UW Health hasn’t identified any cases of the virus but is asking any patients with fever and “acute respiratory symptoms” to wear masks. 

The World Health Organization recently declared the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency, and more than 17,000 cases of the disease have been confirmed in China. 

The state Department of Health Services has nine people under investigation, though test results for two of them have come back negative. Test results are pending for the other seven. 

Track the state’s investigation here: http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/outbreaks/index.htm 

— A Madison-based startup called NovoMoto has raised nearly $300,000 through a crowdsourced Wefunder campaign. 

NovoMoto installs solar-powered lighting devices for people living in the Democratic Republic of Congo, providing a clean energy alternative to kerosene lamps. 

Company founder Aaron Olson was born in the DRC in a clinic with no electricity and aims to improve conditions for millions of people living in the African country. The company has a stated goal of bringing electricity to one million families by 2026. 

The business is seeing consistent growth with more than 1,500 people currently accessing electricity through NovoMoto systems. Customers have benefited from more than $20,000 in energy savings, the company says. 

The ongoing campaign has raised $295,009 out of a target of $1.07 million with 191 investors as of Monday. NovoMoto has raised more than $645,000 from nearly 200 investors since it was founded in 2017. 

See an earlier story on the company: http://www.wisbusiness.com/2019/novomoto-has-big-plans-for-2019/ 

See the campaign: http://wefunder.com/novomoto?mc_cid=ddf0ee1106&mc_eid=c86882176b 

— NovoMoto has been selected along with 15 other startups for the fourth season of the TV show “Project Pitch It,” producers announced recently.

The show, which is similar to “Shark Tank,” features entrepreneurs pitching their unique business plans and products to a panel of Milwaukee business moguls to receive an award of either $10,000 in cash, business classes and mentorship at Cardinal Stritch University or an expert forum with investors and industry experts.

See more at Madison Startups: http://www.madisonstartups.com/project-pitch-it-features-three-local-companies/ 


# Federal farm aid boosts personal income growth in Wisconsin, other farm states


# Innovations: UW-Milwaukee professors’ discovery could disrupt battery, computer markets

# Milwaukee mass timber tower would set world record under latest redesign


# WEDC Secretary Melissa Hughes looks to take organization in new direction




– Wisconsin all milk price fell to $21.30 in December


– Von Ruden re-elected president of Wisconsin Farmers Union



– Parking lot by convention center remains on ice, but hotel hopes endure 



– UWM researcher studies importance of diversity in recruiting, retaining teachers

– UW System joining growing movement to reform entry-level math classes


– Report: Wisconsin ACT test scores have declined since 2014



– Wisconsin governor declares state of emergency after lakeshore flooding and damage in three counties



– Froedtert prepares to open final phase of vertical addition in Wauwatosa: Slideshow


– UW business grad aims to change diabetics’ lives with a piece of plastic



– WeWork appoints property veteran as chief executive 



– New Sprecher Brewing CEO to push brand, product line nationally


– REV Group acquires Spartan Motors’ emergency response vehicle business


– Efforts underway to make ‘Colby’ Wisconsin’s state cheese



– Madison lawmaker says it’s ‘when not if’ regarding marijuana legalization



– Conference to propel efforts to attract more Hispanics to real estate



– Handcuffed: State regulations hamper licensing of ex-offenders


– Hampton Inn & Suites hotel proposed in New Berlin


– Bill Berry: Coronavirus fears serve as a reminder to invest in public health



<i>See these and other press releases: 

http://wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Content=82 </i>

UW Health: Expands travel history questions in response to 2019 Novel Coronavirus in China

Foxconn: Vertical construction and steel placement underway at smart manufacturing center in Wisconsin