Earlier this year the Ohio Senate Introduced a bill to decriminalize hemp cultivation and processing in the Buckeye State.
Senate Bill 57, co-sponsored by Senators Brian Hill and Stephen Huffman, both Republicans, and was co-sponsored by an additional eight members of the Senate. Not surprisingly, Hill pointed out the benefits that would accrue to both farmers and the environment through the cultivation of hemp.
Senator Huffman noted that:
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. This is an incredible opportunity for our farmers to help diversify their crops by allowing them to grow legal hemp.
The bill essentially coordinates Ohio law with the provisions of the 2018 Federal Farm Bill. Translated, that means that Ohio will take the same approach as Kentucky and establish a program to monitor and control the cultivation and processing of hemp under the supervision of a designated university in Ohio.
At the same time, the bill prevents the Pharmacy Board from adding hemp or hemp derived products which comport with the new definition of hemp (that being a cannabis s. plant which contains less than .3% THC by dry weight) to the state’s list of controlled substances.
Making hemp officially legal under Ohio law is definitely a step in the right direction. Especially since the Ohio medical marijuana website leads with an article that says hemp products are effectively legal in Ohio if they’re imported from states where hemp processing is legal. I’m not being critical of that site: we all find ourselves in a hopelessly confusing legal environment.