Immediately following Gov. Mike DeWine signing Senate Bill 57 into law, the Ohio Department of Agriculture began working on rules for growing industrial hemp in the Buckeye State.

One of the first steps in setting policies for the new crop was a request from ODA to the state’s controlling board for $12 million to build hemp testing labs and fill those labs with specialists and technicians to test hemp plants before
processing them for market.

The governor said he is unsure just how many farmers would decide to plant the crop in 2020 and beyond, saying that it will all hinge on a free market system.

“This is a decision that farmers will have to make, like any crop they grow, based on what they think is in their best interests, if they think they can grow it and if they think they can sell it,” DeWine said.

Over the coming months, guidelines laid out by ODA will go through the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) process to ensure the recommended rules do not exceed the rule-making authority granted to them by the General Assembly, which may take up to six months.

Look for an in-depth look at the hemp industry in neighboring Kentucky and read about the agronomics of the crop in the next Our Ohio magazine.

(Editor’s Note: The Ohio Department of Agriculture Hemp Program will begin accepting license applications from potential cultivators and processors for the 2020 growing season on March 3 at noon. All cultivators and processors are required to obtain a license and can apply online at www.agri.ohio.gov
at that time.)

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