Ohio Kicks Off Hemp License Applications

Hemp in Ohio
Image: Ohio Department of Agriculture

The Ohio Department of Agriculture Hemp Program has begun accepting license applications from prospective cultivators and processors for this year’s growing season.

Around this time a year ago, Ohio was one of only nine U.S states left to enact hemp legislation allowing its production. Then in August last year Governor Mike DeWine signed Senate Bill 57 into law, clearing the way for the state’s farmers to start growing the crop in 2020. Ohio was the 47th state to pass a bill, so it avoided being the last to jump on the hemp bandwagon – just.

In January this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) gave its all- important nod to the state’s plan for participating in the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program.

Among the conditions for participating in Ohio’s hemp program is a requirement to grow at least 1,000 plants on a minimum of a quarter of acre (or 1000 square feet for indoor growing operations). Hemp farmers will need to part with $100 for  an application fee for the licence, plus $500 for each growing location. This might prevent some from trialing the crop, particularly small farming operations.

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There are also separate licenses for cultivating and for processing harvested hemp, but both of which will be valid for a period of three years.

A license isn’t required to sell hemp or hemp products – and that includes CBD oil – but these products will need to meet Ohio’s food safety standards and an inspected appropriately.

Farmers won’t be able to grow in a location within half a mile of the boundaries of a parcel of real estate that has a licensed medical marijuana cultivator, within 500 feet of a school or public park, nor within 100 feet of any residential structure.

All growing locations will be subject to random sampling and inspection at any time by the Department of Agriculture for compliance. Should a crop be ordered destroyed, is abandoned, or otherwise not harvested by the licensed cultivator, the department may destroy the crop and charge the licensee for all costs associated with the destruction.

In terms of security, very little is required – a property where hemp is grown does not have to be fenced, nor do signs have to be posted. However, both would probably be a good idea given the spate of hemp thefts last season.

More on the rules and regulations of Ohio’s hemp program can be found here.