Steps to legalize industrial hemp in Wisconsin are facing Republican opposition.

All Republicans on the Assembly Agriculture Committee recently voted against a measure passed by the Democratic majority, which would allow Wisconsin farmers to apply for permits to grow hemp.

State Representative Al Ott (R-Forest Junction) says there are worries about the drug connotation of hemp, which could tarnish Wisconsin’s image. He says there’s also no infrastructure to support a market for the product.

Ott says he understands farmers are struggling in the tough economy, but he doesn’t feel it’s time to dilute the agriculture industry.

In the past, law enforcement groups have opposed legalizing industrial hemp. Sponsors of the bill say it could be a good cash crop for farmers who are barely making it these days.

AUDIO: John Colbert reports (:35)

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