Growing Hemp in Ohio
In a move that follows federal guidelines, Ohio has legalized the growing of hemp for commercial use. The move recognizes the increased demand for hemp-based products by consumers. The products include clothing, paper, rope and cosmetics. The Ohio Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 57 which follows the federal governments move in 2018 which removed hemp from the controlled substances list and allowed for it to be treated as another agricultural product. The move will also allow for the production of hemp-derived products such as cannabidiol oil, which had formerly been high on the states controlled substances list. The hemp products will now be legally available for sale.
The licensing procedure for the cultivation of hemp will be under the auspices of the state’s Department of Agriculture and those wishing to enter the industry will have to undergo background checks in order to qualify for a license. the move allows Ohio to join the overwhelming majority of states that have legalized the cultivation of hemp. Hemp, which is part of the same family as Marijuana does not contain large amounts of the psychoactive chemical THC which provides the ‘high’ of marijuana-derived products. The legalization of hemp cultivation was partly the result of lobbying from a diverse number of stakeholders including the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.
The attractiveness of hemp as a commercial crop for Ohio farmers is that it can be used in rotation with other cash crops. It joins other crops and will further increase the state agricultural output which is already the largest industry in Ohio. The success of the crop is almost assured due to the lessons that have been learned in neighboring Kentucky, where the climatic conditions – including mild weather and a humid atmosphere are also present. The income potential from growing hemp is also attractive to cultivators due to the hardy, annual nature of the plant.