Supervisor suggests hemp be grown at Mitchell Park greenhouse, earn big bucks for Milwaukee County

Data pix.

Mitchell Park greenhouse

MILWAUKEE -- A measure to allow hemp to be grown in a Mitchell Park greenhouse behind the Domes was approved by a Milwaukee County Parks committee on Tuesday, Oct. 29.

"This is a plant that doesn't get people high. So, people confuse it with marijuana. This is not marijuana," said Milwaukee County Supervisor Sylvia Ortiz-Velez.

At a hearing of the county's Parks, Energy and Environment Committee, Supervisor Ortiz-Velez said by leasing one of the county's six greenhouses to Mitchell Park to grow hemp, significant money could be raised.

Sylvia Ortiz-Velez

"It would gross $1.7 million annually," Ortiz-Velez said.

The hemp, grown by a private group, would only be sold to licensed farmers in our state. It would be used for the purposes of propagating out in farmer's fields, purposes of CBS and purpose of raw materials -- just to name a few.

"Milwaukee County really has a need and especially in the parks department -- and especially at Mitchell Park," Ortiz-Velez said. "We have over $40 million in repairs needed right now for the Domes."

But not everyone is buying the idea of growing hemp at Mitchell Park.

Mitchell Park Domes

Jason Haas

"It's not the solution. It's not the magic bullet. It would not fix the Domes by itself," said Milwaukee County Supervisor Jason Haas.

Committee Chairman Haas said the proposal leaves many concerns he has unanswered.

"One, why is the county getting into this private business? Two, what are the long-term fiscal implications? And three, what does it mean for our insurance?" Haas asked.

Those are a lot of questions that will not get answered until the proposal moves forward.

Despite Supervisor Haas' opposition, the committee passed the proposal 4-1 on Tuesday. It now moves to the full Board of Supervisors, which will debate the proposal on Nov. 7.

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