A Miami County state lawmaker wants to make it legal for farmers to grow hemp.
Hemp looks like marijuana, but hemp is much more versatile in its many uses. This is why state Sen. Steve Huffman of Tipp City said he’s introducing a bill to make it legal to grow here.
Huffman sponsored Ohio’s medical marijuana law. With this bill, he’s more interested in giving farmers a new cash crop: legal hemp.
“They want to go out and start producing it. You can make clothing out of it, rope, car parts, not just CBD oil, so the agriculture industry, the largest industry in Ohio, is very supportive of this bill,” Huffman said.
Under his plan, growing hemp and CBD oils would be regulated by the state agriculture department.
Legislative leaders at the Ohio Associated Press Legislative Preview on Tuesday were non-committal about the hemp bill, saying they need to learn more about it.
Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko, D-Richmond Heights, a major supporter of medical marijuana, said his main focus right now is getting the new medical marijuana program up and running.
State Senate President Larry Obhof said the bill would be assigned to a committee, but he wouldn't say yet if he supports it.
The Smokers Plus store in Dayton carries a lot of products made from hemp, and its owner, Rabi Ahmed is taking an interest in the proposal.
He sells cannabidiol, known as CBD for short. Taken for pain and anxiety relief, it’s popular with customers.
“I use CBD to help me sleep, relaxes me, reduces stress,” Brad Satterfield said.
Ahmed and his family use the product, which comes in liquid, capsule and gummy form.
“I personally try it myself, give it to my mother for shoulder pain. She’s happy with it,” he said.
Right now, Ohio is only one of five states that ban the growth of hemp.