Senate Bill 57, which would direct the Ohio Dept. of Agriculture to create a state industrial hemp program, has had its first hearing at the Statehouse in Columbus.
Ohio Sen. Brian Hill, who is a primary sponsor along with Sen. Steve Huffman, said Ohio should take advantage of the opening made by Congress when it removed industrial hemp from the list of banned substances in late 2018. In fact, several states had already received the federal blessing to create pilot hemp cultivation programs over the past several years.
“Ohio is now one of only a handful of states that has not passed legislation to address hemp’s change in legal status. It is imperative that Ohio moves quickly so that our farmers can take advantage of a domestic hemp marketplace and catch up with our neighboring states,” Hill said.
The Ohio Farmers Union adopted a policy in January that calls for an Ohio industrial hemp policy that is fair for farming operations of all sizes and is supportive of Hill’s and Huffman’s work.
“S.B. 57 would get things moving for industrial hemp in Ohio, but much of the detail will be left to the agency rulemaking process at the Ohio Dept. of Agriculture,” said Ron Sylvester, OFU spokesman.
“OFU looks forward to watching the process and engaging in the appropriate ways should the bill pass.”
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