Yesterday the Ohio General Assembly sent Senate Bill 57 – the bill to legalize the cultivation, processing, and sale of hemp and hemp-derived products – to the desk of Governor Mike DeWine for signature. Like most states, State Bill 57 delegates authority to the Ohio Department of Agriculture to create a framework for the licensure and regulation of hemp cultivation and processing. It will likely be six months or more before licensing regulations are in place. But even then, it should ensure that Ohio farmers are able to plant hemp for the 2020 growing season.
Importantly, State Bill 57 includes an emergency clause which allows for the immediate implementation of the law, which would immediately permit any person or business to sell imported hemp or hemp products (such as hemp-derived CBD oil). This change should eliminate confusion created when the Ohio Board of Pharmacy determined that hemp-derived CBD oil could only be sold in Ohio medical marijuana dispensaries.
Frantz Ward attorneys Pat Haggerty and Tom Haren, who are Board members of the Ohio Hemp Association, worked with policy makers in Columbus on Senate Bill 57 for months. Now that it has been passed, Governor DeWine has 10 days to sign the bill into law. All indications are that he will do so.