A view of the Central State University campus in Wilbeforce. In 1887, the Ohio General Assembly passed an act that created a Combined Normal and Industrial Department at Wilberforce University which would become Central State University. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

Area college to start researching hemp if DeWine signs bill into law

The university will plant seeds and begin research after Gov. Mike DeWine signs Senate Bill 57 into law, which he is expected to do next week, according to CSU.

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The bill will allow universities to cultivate hemp and produce cannabidiol, commonly referred to as CBD oil, for research purposes. Hemp, grown for fiber, grain, and CBD oil, can be used in over 25,000 products, according to the school.

Until 2018’s federal Farm Bill, hemp was a scheduled substance that was federally banned. Many states since have worked to legalize hemp and cash in on the newly reopened hemp market.

Senate Bill 57 works to make the state’s hemp growing program compliant with the 2018 Federal Farm Bill. If DeWine signs it, the bill will take effect immediately.

CSU expects its research will assist Ohio farmers in their exploration of alternative crops to diversify and optimize operations.

Central State’s cultivation will include four varieties of hemp at the research farm to engage and educate students and Ohio growers. It will also provide the Ohio Department of Agriculture and the medical community with access to research findings, according to the school.

Central State’s hemp research will be led by Craig Schluttenhofer, research assistant and professor of natural products. His research will focus on the production, processing, genetics, breeding, and biochemistry of hemp, according to the school.

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Schluttenhofer comes to Central State from the University of Kentucky where he has conducted hemp research since May 2014.

Schluttenhofer has worked closely with the department of agriculture, companies, growers, and other stakeholders to address industry needs. He has established networks and collaborations with other universities to conduct this research, according to CSU.

Central State, which is one of Ohio’s two historically black colleges, is located about 22 miles east of Dayton. CSU has expanded its focus on agriculture in recent years, was visited by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue last year and wants to develop a multi-million-dollar medical marijuana lab.

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