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Ohio lawmaker drafting standalone bill to regulate hemp products

Gov. Mike DeWine at a December press conference holding an advertisement for a business selling unregulated hemp products.
Sarah Donaldson
Statehouse News Bureau
Gov. Mike DeWine at a December press conference holding an advertisement for a business selling unregulated hemp products.

Gov. Mike DeWine is again urging the Ohio House to act on modifying the state's recreational marijuana laws, and his request includes regulating unscheduled derivatives of cannabis.

DeWine said Friday he’s concerned about what he calls “intoxicating” hemp products—such as delta-8 THC, delta-9 THC and their derivatives. The products containing these psychoactive substances are generally more synthetic than products with naturally-occurring cannabis, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The federal Farm Bill created a gray area in 2018, removing any cannabis product with less than 0.3 percent delta-9 THC from the definition of marijuana. It's why gas stations and CBD stores in Columbus and elsewhere are able to sell products with psychoactive ingredients, often advertising a marijuana-like high.

“These hemp products can be sold anywhere in the state of Ohio, and we have no jurisdiction,” DeWine said during a media conference. “We have no laws to prohibit that. We can do absolutely nothing. Local law enforcement can do nothing. The state can do nothing.”

Sen. Steve Huffman (R-Tipp City) is drafting the proposal as a standalone bill, based off language that was included in the Ohio Senate’s bigger marijuana bill. Huffman said he wants to make sure its balanced with concerns from retailers, who have told him regulations that are too strict could shutter CBD stores outright.

“There are some really good CBD products out there, but there's others that are manufactured in a way that are intoxicating and not safe,” Huffman said in an interview.

An earlier version of regulations regarding delta-8 THC and delta-9 THC were taken out of the state budget in summer 2023, Huffman said.

DeWine made the comments about action on marijuana during a media conference about an executive order to ban transition surgeries for minors, a week after he vetoed House Bill 68.

The house will convene for session Wednesday, two weeks earlier than it originally intended to—and it's likely for a vote to override that veto. DeWine said he believes the legislature should also focus their efforts on what he sees as unfinished business.

“I would just say that since the house is coming back next week, this might be a good time to take on and deal again with something that they did not do, which is to to deal with the marijuana issue,” DeWine said.

The senate is not scheduled for its first session of 2024 until later in January.

Sarah Donaldson covers government, policy, politics and elections for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. Contact her at
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