LORAIN COUNTY, Ohio — Hemp and CBD products are now legal in the state of Ohio, and retailers across the state may begin selling those products right away.
Governor Mike DeWine signed Senate Bill 57 into law Tuesday morning at the Ohio State Fair. The new law allows the Ohio Department of Agriculture to begin drafting rules for people who want to grow or process hemp. It also removes hemp from the list of controlled substances.
The most immediate change, however, is that retailers can begin selling CBD and other hemp-derived products in stores right away, as a result of an emergency clause in the new law.
ZuRI, A CBD Supply Co. is a company with a production facility in Lorain County, where workers produce more than 90 CBD products. Scott Raybuck, the president and CEO, said that up until now, his company has been producing base products locally and then shipping them out-of-state to consumers. Now, though, the company can fulfill orders by local retailers, which it's been receiving for a while now.
"In Ohio, I would probably say 70 to 80 [retailers] right off the bat, and that doesn’t include us now going out and really marketing to Ohio," Raybuck said. "So it was a substantial number of retailers that we’ll be fulfilling orders over the next couple of weeks here for them."
Raybuck said ZuRI sells a variety of products, from "full spectrum" products that may contain a trace amount of THC to those with CBD isolate which do not contain any THC. Under the law, hemp must contain less than 0.3 percent THC.
"We go through an arduous process to test every single CBD product that we produce," Raybuck said. "So before we buy the CBD from our certified agricultural department partner in Colorado, they send us what’s called a certificate of analysis, which is a third-party independent lab sample, so we first look at that. After we approve of that, we then get the product shipped to us."
From there, Roebuck said, "we then send another sample out to a different independent lab to make sure that the CBD content is what it states it is and then the THC levels are below that 0.3 percent legal."
Then, once workers at ZuRI make the end product at the Lorain County facility, it's sent out for batch testing.
Now that CBD products are legal in Ohio, Raybuck said he anticipates expansion and said that other companies and industries will likely be able to do the same, creating more jobs in the state.
"Obviously from a farming perspective, you’ve got the ability now for farmers to grow alternative crops that are very resilient and give them the opportunity to do something a little bit different from traditional soybeans and corn that they’re doing now," Raybuck said. "And then obviously the processing and extraction facilities too, so it really opens up Ohio as a whole from a lot of different job creation opportunities."
The Ohio Department of Agriculture's website states that the department will be testing all CBD products for safety and accurate labeling.