COLUMBUS - On Wednesday, the Senate concurred on House changes made to Senate Bill 57, legislation that would create an industrial hemp program in Ohio administered by the Department of Agriculture.
Senate Bill 57, sponsored by State Senator Steve Huffman (R-Tipp City), clarifies that hemp and hemp derived products, including CBD oil may be sold legally in Ohio.
"It is important to understand that hemp is not marijuana, it is much more versatile and lacks an appreciable amount of THC to cause any psychotropic effects," said Huffman. "This is an incredible opportunity for our farmers to help diversify their crops by allowing them to grow legal hemp."
The legislation now includes and emergency measure allowing stores and consumers to legally buy and sell CBD products immediately after the bill is signed.
Additionally, the House made changes to the bill that would require a license to process hemp into any hemp product, updating definitions and rule-making provisions to ensure that testing and licensure will be comprehensive. The bill now also requires that criminal background checks be conducted by the Bureau of Criminal Investigation in the Attorney General’s office.
With the recent passing of the 2018 Federal Farm Bill, industrial hemp has been removed from the list of scheduled substances banned by the federal government and can now be grown as a commodity crop throughout the United States.
Many states have adopted a hemp pilot program, permitted by federal law, so that farmers in their jurisdictions could begin planting and harvesting hemp. Hemp can be used in over 25,000 commercial products including feed, fiber, biofuels, clothing and plastic.
Federal law prohibits a person from growing hemp if they have had a felony drug conviction in the last 10 years.
Senate Bill 57 now heads to the Governor for further consideration.