Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has signed a bill that allows for the cultivation of industrial hemp and legalizes the manufacture and sale of CBD products derived from the plant.
Ohio's leading farm group applauded the signing of the bill Tuesday by the Republican governor.
The Ohio Farm Bureau says industrial hemp will give farmers another crop option and potential revenue stream that could offset "years of declining commodity prices."
"This is an incredible opportunity for our farmers to help diversify their crops by allowing them to grow legal hemp," said state Sen. Steve Huffman, R-Tipp City. "I am excited to see how this new law will benefit the agriculture industry as well as consumers in the years to come."
The federal government legalized hemp cultivation last year.
Under current state law, hemp is considered a Schedule I drug because it — like marijuana — comes from the cannabis plant. However, hemp contains a low concentration of THC, marijuana’s psychoactive stimulant.
The law would exclude hemp and its products from the definition of marijuana that the state uses to enforce controlled substance laws, and it would further prohibit the state’s Board of Pharmacy from listing hemp as a controlled substance.
Under the law, previously confiscated CBD oil would be returned to the seller, given that the oil is compliant with federal law.
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, which passes the legislature last week, works to make the state’s hemp growing program compliant with the 2018 Federal Farm Bill.
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Kyle Koehler, R-Springfield, said there are three main regulations that the state has to include: Hemp must contain less than 0.3 percent THC, the state must keep track of where hemp is grown, and all hemp growers must be licensed through the Ohio Department of Agriculture.
While there have been no talks to limit how many licenses the state will hand out, the law will disallow any person who has been convicted of a felony related to a controlled substance within the past 10 years to grow hemp, a federal requirement.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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