Hemp moves forward in Ohio

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A small hemp plant growing at the 2019 Farm Science Review.
(Farm and Dairy file photo)

SALEM, Ohio — Ohio farmers are still on track to start planting hemp this spring after the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review, a state legislative committee with Ohio House and Senate representatives, approved the state’s hemp rules Jan. 16.

This comes just a few weeks after Ohio’s state hemp production plan became one of the first three state plans to be approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Ohio Department of Agriculture can now file the rules in their final form. The rules are expected to take effect Jan. 29. The ODA will begin accepting applications for licenses shortly afterwards.

Licenses

Anyone who wants to grow or process hemp in Ohio will need to apply for a license from the ODA. The cost to apply for a license to grow hemp is $100. Once a grower is licensed, they must pay an additional $500 fee for each growing location.

The application requires information about each location where the farmer plans to grow hemp, including the number of acres (or square footage for indoor facilities) and GPS coordinates. Applicants also must submit to a background check.

Harvest

Within 15 days before harvest, the ODA must take a sample of farmers’ crops to test them for THC. THC is a psychoactive compound found in marijuana that gives users the “high” they experience. It is also present in hemp, but at much lower levels that cannot produce a high.

There is a $150 fee for the first pre-harvest sample. If a farmer’s hemp tests hot with over 0.3% THC levels, they can request a second sample at a $300 fee.  If the farmer does not request a second sample or if the second sample also tests hot, the crops must be destroyed.

State plans

Ohio is one of only three states to have its state hemp plan approved by the USDA as of Jan. 17. There have also been three tribal plans approved.

Pennsylvania’s hemp plan is currently under review by the USDA, and West Virginia is currently drafting a state plan for USDA review. The USDA is still receiving and reviewing state and tribal hemp production plans. To view the status of a plan or review an approved plan, visit www.ams.usda.gov/rules-regulations/hemp/state-and-tribal-plan-review.

(©2020 Farm and Dairy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.)

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