Ohio’s Department of Agriculture announced that it is now accepting applications to grow and process hemp. Applicants have until May 1 to apply for a three-year license. While there is no cap on the number of license holders for hemp, like there is for medical marijuana, licenses for cultivation and processing are separate.
Part of the application includes a criminal background check for all applicants, according to state code. Applicants also need to get a surety bond to make sure that they meet the financial responsibility standards of the state. The amount they have to get will vary depending on the size of the proposed operation. The bond is there for the state to step in and redeem if a licensed processor becomes insolvent, or to repay creditors if their license is suspended or revoked.
Ohio’s hemp bill was signed by Governor Mike DeWine on July 30, 2019. Ohio followed federal guidelines in banning any cannabis product with over 0.3% THC by dry weight.
The state doesn’t have a clear estimate of how many people will apply for licenses. When the bill was signed, the price for hemp was still high. That was before a crash in price after the market was flooded last fall by eager farmers looking to cash in.
While experts still believe that the market for hemp will continue to expand, the current infrastructure is lacking in the industry’s ability to process all the hemp that farmers produce.