COLUMBUS, Ohio – Governor Mike DeWine has just signed a bill to legalize hemp and CBD products in Ohio.
Senate Bill 57 was passed by state lawmakers two weeks ago and allows farmers and to grow hemp and sell CBD products derived from hemp. University researchers will now be legally permitted to study hemp.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture will oversee the new hemp industry. All products must contain less than 0.3 percent THC, keeping Ohio regulations in line with federal guidelines. In December of 2018, Congress approved the Agricultural Improvement Act (farm bill) which legalized industrial hemp.
“We believe the safeguards are in place,” DeWine said at the bill signing, according to Cleveland.com. “We believe it will provide more opportunity for Ohio consumers, more opportunities for Ohio farmers.”
The Ohio Farm Bureau predicts hemp will become the third largest crop in the state behind soybeans and corn. However, the profit margins on hemp are predicted to be much higher for hemp than traditional crops. It is unclear just how many farmers will consider growing industrial hemp.
“Nobody knows if the market will be oversaturated, or if there are market forces in place that we don’t know about yet,” Ty Higgins, a spokesman for the Ohio Farm Bureau, told The Columbus Dispatch.
Jen Lynch, executive director of the Ohio Hemp Association, a group instrumental in advocating for Senate Bill 57, feels that many traditional farmers will want to grow industrial hemp.
“I can tell you a lot of the folks in traditional agriculture—soybean and corn—as well as those who have access to land are interested in the hemp space for various reasons,” Lynch told Cleveland.com.
Under the new regulations, farmers will have to apply for a permit to cultivate hemp. The Ohio Department of Agriculture is hoping to issue the permits by Spring 2020.