Ohio hemp legalization bill draws criticism from farmers and hemp advocates

Ohio hemp advocates and farmers warned lawmakers Tuesday against adding too many restrictions on the state’s proposed legal hemp program.

Supporters of industrial hemp said changes to Senate Bill 57 will prohibit many Ohioans from planting hemp, a non-intoxicating cousin of marijuana, or making products from the plant. Hemp is a cannabis plant with less than 0.3 percent THC, the active component of cannabis that generates a high.

The 2018 Farm Act made hemp an agricultural commodity and allowed states to regulate it. But on the state level, hemp remains illegal.

Ohio law makes no differentiation between hemp and marijuana, and the Ohio Board of Pharmacy has maintained CBD, or cannabidiol, derived from hemp can only be produced and sold through Ohio’s medical marijuana program.

Senate Bill 57 aims to fix that by removing hemp from the definition of marijuana and establishing some rules required by the federal law.

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