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On July 30, 2019, Governor Mike DeWine took the historic step of signing SB 57 - Ohio’s hemp bill - into law. This legislation ended  over 70 years of prohibition of the incredibly versatile cannabis plant. Provisions of the bill include:

  • The Ohio Department of Agriculture will draft and administer rules

  • The ODA’s rules will be submitted to the USDA for approval

  • Unlimited number of licenses to grow and process

  • Goal is for farmers to begin planting spring 2020

  • Hemp will be defined as less that 0.3% delta THC.

  • Ohio almost fell to last place as the 47th state to pass a bill

  • Hemp could become the state’s third largest crop

  • The bill went into effect immediately

HUGE NEWS! On December 12, 2018, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed the 2018 Farm Bill by 87-13. The U.S. House of Representatives followed up the next day with a favorable vote of 369-47. President Trump subsequently signed the bill and it went into effect on January 2, 2019. This essentially legalizes the cultivation, processing and sales of industrial hemp in the United States provided certain provisions are met. According to Vote Hemp, the new law will:

  • Define industrial hemp broadly to cover all parts of the Cannabis plant including seeds, derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids etc as long as it has a THC level of 0.3% or less

  • Remove hemp completely from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA)

  • Make USDA the sole federal regulatory agency overseeing hemp cultivation

  • Authorize federal crop insurance for hemp

  • Require USDA to develop federal regulations for hemp farming that may be used in states that choose not to be the primary regulator (like Ohio?)

  • Require states wishing to have primary regulatory authority to submit a plan for regulation to USDA that meets minimum requirements

  • Makes clear that cannabinoids are included so hemp derived CBD will not be a controlled substance (although a legal gray area remains).

NOTES:

Hemp farming and research is not legal in Ohio. The Ohio General Assembly never passed legislation to enable hemp research and pilot plots as permitted by the 2014 Farm Bill. There are currently no hemp bills pending.

The State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy has publicly stated its position on CBD under HB 523's definition of marijuana. Essentially, in their view, the only legal CBD in Ohio will be that purchased from a licensed dispensary. Read their FAQ here.

Industrial Hemp in Ohio

The State of Ohio is perfectly poised to thrive in the new growth economy posed by the industrial uses of hemp. Why? Because Ohio is the quintessential agricultural state, manufacturing state and distribution state, all of which are key ingredients to a growth market.

Industrial Hemp in Ohio

  • According to the Ohio Farm Bureau: “Food and agriculture is Ohio’s top industry, contributing $93.8 billion to Ohio’s economy. There are 75,700 farms in the state with the average farm size being 188 acres. Ohio is ranked 11th nationally in the number of farms.

  • The U.S. Census Bureau reported that the "Manufacturing sector was the 2nd largest employer in Ohio in 2010, with 599,130 employees, and that "Ohio ranked 4th in the U.S. in number of manufacturing plants."

  • In terms of logistics, the state ranks third in the country in total value of inbound and outbound shipments at $907 billion, and first in value of outbound shipments at $244 billion.