Push for Industrial Hemp
Farmers across the country are again making a push to legalize Industrial Hemp in states where it is still currently illegal.
Stephen Huffman is a State Senator in Ohio - and is now sponsoring legislation to establish guidelines for hemp cultivation. While hemp is a relative of the marijuana plant, Huffman explains it doesn't have the same properties.
"There's a huge amount of misinformation," says Huffman. "You can't get high off it; it doesn't have the psychotropic that the marijuana does. Once you can get people educated that you can make rope, clothing, car parts, oils – it will be a great cash crop for the state of Ohio."
The 2014 Farm Bill created regulations for states interested in hemp pilot programs to research the crop. Ohio is one of nine states that did not apply.
Hemp is now no longer considered a controlled substance. It was redefined as a legal crop in the 2018 Farm Bill.
The legislation would help alleviate some of the controversy regarding CBD (cannabidiol) oil, which some experts say is therapeutic in addressing chronic pain and other ailments. CBD is produced from hemp – however, it is restricted under Ohio's medical marijuana program.
Huffman says the bill would allow farmers to grow industrial hemp and allow CBD to be sold without a license.
"I'm not sure that it helps for medicinal purposes, but there's a lot of people that believe it does with very little side effect," says Huffman. "So, I think we should give them that opportunity to continue to use it under the correct regulation."