Governor Mike DeWine signed a law legalizing hemp on July 30th, 2019. The bill, House Bill 57, puts the issue in the hands of the Ohio’s state Department of Agriculture, which is now being tasked with creating some kind of system to license farmers who would like to grow hemp. The goal of the bill is to have the program in place by next year so that farmers can grow hemp by spring.
One issue that the Department of Agriculture will have is regulating hemp and marijuana. While they both come from cannabis, hemp contains less THC, which means that it isn’t intoxicating like marijuana is. The crop hemp has a myriad of uses, including it being able to be used as an ingredient in both food and nutritional supplements. Not only can it be used in this way, hemp can also be used to make products like paper, fuel, and biodegradable plastics. To regulate this and allow farmers to grow hemp, farmers must be willing to submit their crops for testing to ensure that the THC threshold of 0.3% is not surpassed.
Texas, and Kentucky are examples of a handful of states that allow farmers to grow hemp. Ohio’s agricultural officials, though, have said that due to Ohio’s climate, they must determine how to grow it in the state. After all, the Ohio Department of Agriculture is still learning about hemp production right alongside the Ohio farmers.
How lucrative hemp is is still in the air. Because it’s a weed, growing the plant would not be a difficult feat, so the market could easily become oversaturated. It’s a good thing that the extract has a cult following due to its claimed medicinal properties. These may be claims by these individuals, but research has found potential benefits. Though, it’s best to err on the side of caution, as these studies are new and require further testing to confirm.