COLUMBUS—State Senator Bob Peterson
(R-Washington Court House) today joined his Senate colleagues in the unanimous passage of Senate Bill 57
, which would create an industrial hemp program in Ohio administered by the Ohio Department of Agriculture.
"Farmers in my district are eager to have the opportunity to grow hemp in our state, and this bill gives them the opportunity to do so legally and in compliance with federal requirements," said Peterson, who co-sponsored the legislation. "I commend the bill's sponsors and everyone on the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee for their continued work to create new opportunities for Ohio's farmers."
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. Senate Bill 57 excludes hemp from the definition of marijuana in state law to clarify that hemp and hemp-derived products may be legally grown, processed and sold in Ohio. The bill also creates a program to license, monitor and regulate hemp cultivation and processing.
Hemp can be used in over 25,000 commercial products including feed, fiber, biofuels, clothing and plastic.
“Farmers are always looking for new options to diversify their operations,” said Adam Sharp, Executive Vice President of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. “We applaud Senators Hill and Huffman for introducing legislation to help bring industrial hemp to Ohio and to allow farmers to explore the potential of this quickly growing market opportunity.”
The cost of operating the program would be predominately paid from hemp cultivation license fees, hemp processor license fees, and laboratory testing fees deposited into the Hemp Program Fund created under the bill.
The bill will now be sent to the Ohio House of Representatives for further consideration.