Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s has signed into law legislation that decriminalizes hemp, the non-psychoactive cousin of marijuana.
Governor DeWine recently signed Senate Bill 57 into law, according to the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA). The Associated Press reports that the agency will create and administer a new hemp program in the state. The bill also legalizes the manufacture and sale of CBD products derived from the plant.
According to the department, all hemp must have 0.3% or less of THC to qualify under the new law. Any hemp with more than 0.3% THC will still remain illegal.
The Ohio Farm Bureau said industrial hemp will give farmers another crop option and a potential revenue stream that could offset “years of declining commodity prices,” The Associated Press reports.
The new law sets up a licensing structure for farmers interested in growing the crop. “Farmers must obtain a license from the ODA to grow hemp. Processors and some research facilities will also need to obtain licenses. Universities also have the opportunity to cultivate and process hemp for research purposes.”
Licenses are not yet available, but the ODA on its website says the goal is to have farmers licensed and capable of planting hemp by spring of 2020.
Rules and regulations are still being developed by the ODA which will be responsible for testing CBD and other hemp products for safety and accuracy.
The federal government legalized hemp cultivation last year.
To visit the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s website to learn more, submit your questions and sign up for updates about the program, click here.
According to congressional researchr, the United States imports roughly half a billion dollars in hemp from other countries (primarily Canada and China) while retaining the illegality of its cultivation amongst its own farmers. The same research estimates the hemp market to consist of over 25,000 various products.