COLUMBUS — Governor Mike DeWine’s signature has paved the way for the decriminalization of hemp in Ohio.
DeWine signed Senate Bill 57 into law, according to the Ohio Department of Agriculture. The agency will create and administer a new hemp program in the state. The bill also legalizes the manufacture and sale of CBD products derived from the plant.
Hemp is a cannabis plant but unlike marijuana, hemp does not produce the same intoxicating effect. Hemp must contain less than .3% THC, the potentially intoxicating compound, according to the ODA.
The Ohio Farm Bureau said industrial hemp will give farmers another crop option and potential revenue stream that could offset "years of declining commodity prices," The Associated Press reports.
How do you grow and process hemp?
The new law sets up a licensing structure for farmers interested in growing the crop. Farmers must obtain a license from the ODA to grow hemp. Processors and some research facilities will also need to obtain licenses. Universities also have the opportunity to cultivate and process hemp for research purposes.
Licenses are not yet available, but the ODA on its website says the goal is to have farmers licensed and capable of planting hemp by spring of 2020.
Hemp is being used in textiles, for its Cannabidiol or CBD and is also being used in foods and dietary supplements.
Rules and regulations are still being developed by the ODA which will be responsible for testing CBD and other hemp products for safety and accuracy.
The federal government legalized hemp cultivation last year.
Click here to visit the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s website to learn more, submit your questions and sign up for updates about the program.