The first step toward legalizing hemp in Ohio has been taken. Senate Bill 57 was signed into law, decriminalizing hemp and paving the way for the development of a new industry in our state.
SENATE BILL 57
The law decriminalizes hemp, making it a legal crop for Ohio farmers to cultivate and process. It allows for the creation of a hemp program to be administered by the Ohio Department of Agriculture. The law also sets up a licensing structure for farmers who are interested in growing the crop and those interested in processing it.
WHAT IS HEMP?
Hemp is a cannabis plant, grown for its many industrial uses. It does not produce the intoxicating effects of the cannabis plant, marijuana. Hemp yields a strong fiber, used in textiles. The seed has nutritional value and can be eaten. And Cannabidiol, or CBD, can be extracted from the plant. CBD is now being used in food and dietary supplements.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HEMP AND MARIJUANA
While hemp and marijuana are both cannabis, hemp does not produce the same intoxicating effect marijuana does. The difference is their levels of THC, the potentially intoxicating compound. According to the USDA, hemp must contain less than .3% THC. Marijuana contains a higher level of THC, often over 10%.
HOW DO I GROW AND PROCESS HEMP?
Farmers will have to obtain a license to grow hemp. Licenses will also be required for hemp processors and some research facilities. The licenses are not yet available. Details on how this process will operate are currently being worked out, along with the rules and regulations regarding the cultivation and processing of hemp. The goal is to have farmers licensed and able to plant the crop by spring of 2020.
It is now legal to sell properly inspected CBD products in Ohio. The Ohio Department of Agriculture will be testing all CBD products for safety and accurate labeling to protect Ohio consumers.
Universities will now have an opportunity to cultivate and process hemp for research purposes. If you are a university interested in this, click here to apply.
PUBLIC COMMENT ON PROPOSED RULES
The Ohio Department of Agriculture has posted proposed Hemp Cultivation and Processing rules.
During the public comment period, you may submit written comments regarding the proposed rules to the ODA via email at email@example.com. We will review all comments carefully and will make changes to the rules if necessary. The public comment period will close on October 30, 2019.
The Department will be providing more resources about growing and processing hemp in the coming weeks. Be sure to visit our website to stay up to date with the Hemp Program. Should you have any questions please call the Hemp Office at 614.728.2101.