On Wednesday, Ohio’s House of Representatives approved Senate Bill 57 — by a vote of 88-3 — that would legalize Hemp Farming and CBD products in the state. Notably, the bill was passed by the Senate in March.
Changes to the bill made by the house were also approved on the same day; the measure now awaits consideration by Governor Mike DeWine to turn into law with immediate effect.
Under the current state law, hemp falls under the category of Schedule I controlled substances, like all other variants of the cannabis plant. The passage of SB 57 though will amend the law and ensure that it conforms with the 2018 Farm Bill passed by the Congress that legalizes hemp at the federal level. Thus, hemp will be exempted from the definition of marijuana used for drug laws.
Presently, CBD products can be purchased only through state-licensed dispensaries. However, once SB 57 is signed into law, retailers would be able to sell the same on their shelves just like they used to do until August 2018, when the pharmacy board barred them from selling CBD products.
“Farmers have been hit pretty hard with tariffs and weather of late, I think the bill can help them plan a little bit,” House Speaker Larry Householder said. “Now they can take comfort in the fact that there’s a path for us to have hemp in the state.”
The regulations set by SB 57 state that hemp crops cannot contain more than 0.3% THC and that the farmers must get licensed by the Ohio Department of Agriculture. As of now, no cap has been set on the number of licenses that can be issued. However, anyone who has been convicted of a controlled substance-related felony in the last 10 years will not be able to attain a license.
“We think that the bill does what the federal government has set forth, while creating as few regulations as possible,” Koehler said.