Ohio Moves to Legalize CBD and Hemp!
Updated: Aug 6, 2019
In one sweeping move, hemp and CBD were legalized federally in 2018 with the passage of the Agricultural Farm Bill. While other states across the country quickly moved on establishing state-wide hemp cultivation programs and CBD distribution, Ohio lagged behind.
Why is this? Well, while the federal law officially distinguished between hemp and cannabis - which still remains illegal federally - Ohio's law specifically conflicted with this new distinction as CBD was written into Ohio's medical marijuana program in the same vein as cannabis. For this reason, Ohio's laws created a barrier for state official's to establish a hemp program in the state.
This led to an announcement in August 2018 from the Ohio Board of Pharmacy alerting businesses that CBD products could only be sold in state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries. This statement led to widespread confusion over the status of hemp and CBD in Ohio, creating hesitation for farmers and businesses to enter the lucrative market and provide much needed business opportunities to the Ohio market.
According to Cleveland.com, the Ohio General Assembly this week sent a bill to Gov. Mike DeWine aimed at lifting the restrictions blocking farmers in Ohio from growing industrial hemp, and the retail shops that distribute CBD products derived from hemp.
Senate Bill 57 was introduced earlier this year in response to the conflicts between Ohio and federal law regarding hemp cultivation and CBD sales. This week, the bill passed the House by a vote of 88-3 in favor and returned the bill to the Senate where it was passed and moved along to DeWine for final approval.
The program would have a few primary regulations that had to be included: hemp must contain less than 0.3% THC, the state must keep track of where the hemp is cultivated, and all hemp growers in Ohio must be licensed through the Ohio Department of Agriculture.
Larry Householder, the House Speaker, stated the importance of getting this bill passed quickly:
"Farmers are getting hit pretty hard right now with tariffs and weather, I think that [the hemp bill] can help them plan a little bit."
The bill has been backed by more than a dozen different business groups in Ohio, including the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, NFIB Ohio, and the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. According to estimates, while corn and soybeans produce $400-$600 an acre, hemp can produce anywhere from $6,000-$60,000 an acre.
The version of the bill that passed the Senate and House this week has a clause in it that specifies the bill will go into effect immediately with DeWine's signature because Ohio is so far behind other state programs, and the Department of Agriculture would still be required to set up the program prior to farmers planting their first crops to be available next spring.
The bill also has a caveat that would require authorities to return the CBD products that were seized in some cases back in 2018.
Hemp has been described as the next billion dollar industry - and for good reason. The applications of hemp seem limitless: building materials, energy, textiles, paper products, food and household goods, among many, many others. Most consequentially, Ohioans would have access to safe and reliable CBD products grown by farmers in the state.
The hemp industry would be beneficial for Ohio from farmers to consumers. With so much support on both sides of the aisle, we now have to wait for final approval from DeWine before Ohio can celebrate wide-scale hemp and CBD legalization in the state.
If you are an Ohioan suffering from one of these 21 medical conditions you may be eligible to treat your ailment with medical marijuana, which includes both THC and CBD products.
Click here to learn more about what Ohio Marijuana Card's state-certified medical marijuana doctors can do for you, or give us a call at 1-866-457-5559 and our friendly support team can walk you through the entire process, and set you up with an appointment.