Dave Arend described how the new law that effectively ends CBD prohibition in Ohio has brought relief to the consumers as well as the retailers. Arend runs Your CBD Store in the Anderson township and had sleepless nights before the law was implemented.
He opened the store on July 1, knowing full well that it is still illegal to sell cannabinoids in Ohio outside state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries. Arend sells CBD products containing traces of THC, the compound that is responsible to get users ‘high’ when they smoke pot or marijuana.
Just six months earlier in Ohio, state and local officials were cracking down on retailers selling CBD products, pestering them to remove the products from the store shelves. But with the new law, that has changed entirely.
Gov. Mike DeWine signed Senate Bill 57, Ohio’s hemp legalization bill into law on Tuesday at the Ohio State Fair. The law takes effect immediately, removing hemp-derived cannabidiol from the list of controlled substances in Ohio and freeing all embargoes on CBD inventory. This also means that colleges and universities in Ohio can now grow the state’s first summer batch of hemp this year.
Arend is expecting a rush from customers as a result of the newly implemented law. He said the new law will hopefully remove the stigma associated with CBD products and make it clear for the customers that what they are selling is not marijuana. He further added that they want customers to enjoy the benefits that CBD offers without getting high.
The Legalization of Hemp in Ohio
The law immediately opens up the gate for CBD products into the state, but it will take some time before hemp can be grown or processed commercially in the Buckeye State.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture plans to roll out federal regulations for hemp cultivation and processing in the upcoming weeks. Apart from deriving CBD from hemp flowers, the cannabis genus plant is also harvested for its seeds and fiber.
The agricultural officials of Ohio have 6 months to draft rules and regulations for CBD that will be applied throughout the state of Ohio. Once the draft is ready, it will be submitted to the federal officials for approval. The ultimate goal is to have everything in place for the farmers so that they can plant seeds in the ground next spring.
The department plans to seek $12 million in August to set up the entire program, which will entail buying equipment to test plants and hemp products including CBD oil and other CBD based products.
Until the state labeling and testing rules are approved, agency officials will keep a close check with CBD products and other hemp derived substances that are being sold in the market. Any product claiming medical benefits or failing to abide by good safety guidelines will not be entertained.
Dorothy Pelanda, the Director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture said the agency is not planning to limit the number of licenses being issued to cultivate or process hemp. This has come as a major relief for farmers who were looking for a proper license for hemp cultivation in the coming months.
Pelanda said that agricultural officials have been thoroughly studying hemp programs in other states over the last few months and they will be able to enact proper guidelines and set regulations within the given time frame of six-months allotted by the law.
She further added that the agency plans to create regulations to make sure that farmers plant seeds that are certified with low levels of THC- hemp is defined as cannabis containing less than 0.3% THC.
Ohio is now the 46th state to allow hemp farming.
A major part of Ohio’s program will consist of research, which will take place soon. Ohio State University plans to purchase nearly 2,000 hemp plants in the upcoming week. Associate dean for research and graduate programs at the Ohio State University’s College of Food, Gary Pierzynski said it is too late to plant hemp with the goal of harvesting.
However, he states that he is hopeful the first crop at four locations will help them in their research in growing methods, pests, plant diseases and many more things next year.
Industry analysts predict that the U.S. hemp market will expand from nearly $4.6 billion to more than $26 billion by 2023. The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation said that hemp has the potential to become Ohio’s no. 3 crop right behind corn and soybeans.