Governor Mike DeWine signed Senate Bill 57 into law, decriminalizing hemp and paving the way for the development of a new hemp industry in our state. The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) will administer the newly-created hemp program.
Hemp is a cannabis plant that does not produce intoxicating effects, grown for its many industrial uses. Hemp contains a fiber, a grain, and oil that can be extracted for CBD, which is now being used in food and dietary supplements.
The hemp program sets up a licensing structure for farmers who are interested in growing the crop and those interested in processing it. It also allows for universities to grow and cultivate the crop for research purposes. ODA will also be testing CBD and hemp products for safety and accurate labeling to protect Ohio consumers.
“Industrial hemp will give Ohio farmers another crop option to help them diversify their farms and possibly find another stream of revenue to offset years of declining commodity prices,” said Adam Sharp, Executive Vice President, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. “We are pleased that the state legislature passed and Governor DeWine signed SB 57 and we look forward to working with the Ohio Department of Agriculture as the program begins to take shape.”
ODA has created a web page to explain the hemp program and gather information from those interested in growing or processing the crop.
DeWine signed the bill at the conclusion of the Joint Legislative Agriculture Committee Meeting Ohio House of Representatives Agriculture and Rural Development Committee and the Ohio Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee meeting held at the Ohio State Fair in the Nationwide Donahey Land & Living Building. The bicameral group showcased the work they’ve accomplished and heard testimony on various food and agricultural issues at the event.