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Rep. Koehler Announces Report of SB 57 out of Agriculture and Rural Development Committee

June 4, 2019
J. Kyle Koehler News

COLUMBUS—State Representative Kyle Koehler (R-Springfield) today announced, in his capacity as Chairman of the House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, that Senate Bill 57 has been voted out of the Committee. SB 57, which would decriminalize hemp and provide a structure for hemp cultivation licensing, has been considered by the committee for the past two months.

Hemp products have the potential to be utilized in various applications such as paper, textiles, biofuel, and animal feed. However, Ohio law presently prohibits hemp cultivation in the state.

The bill aligns Ohio law with recently-updated federal law regarding hemp and hemp products, and provides a framework for the establishment of the state’s hemp industry. If enacted, the bill would authorize the Director of the Department of Agriculture to establish a program to license and monitor hemp cultivation and processing.

While considering the bill, the Committee approved several changes, including the explicit inclusion of hemp farmland in the state’s CAUV program, provisions for hemp transportation procedures, and the explicit exclusion of hemp from the definition of “drug” in the pharmacy dangerous drug law. The House version of the bill also provides additional opportunities for institutions of higher education to conduct hemp-related research.

“The bill we voted on today was the product of a lot of long conversations, hard work and co-operation. The scientific expertise and industry knowledge required to produce a bill of this quality cannot be discounted, and I would like to thank Senator Huffman for his leadership in moving this forward.”

If passed, SB 57 would require the Director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture to submit a plan to regulate hemp cultivation to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture for approval. Upon approval of this plan, Ohio farmers could begin the licensing and planting process.

The bill awaits consideration from the full Ohio House of Representatives.