Ohio agriculture committees
Written by Evin Bachelor, Law Fellow, OSU Extension Agricultural & Resource Law Program
Ten of Ohio’s thirty-three state senators have introduced and sponsored legislation that would decriminalize licensed hemp cultivation and production in the state of Ohio. These senators represent a bipartisan mix of seven Republicans and three Democrats. After the passage of the Farm Bill, we sent out a blog post that explained how current Ohio law does not distinguish hemp from marijuana, meaning that hemp is currently just as illegal under Ohio law as marijuana. Senate Bill 57 would change that, if passed.
What Senate Bill 57 would change.
Senate Bill 57, if passed in its current form, would effectively decriminalize hemp cultivation and the production and sale of hemp products, so long as the activities are conducted under a license. The bill establishes definitions for cannabidiol and hemp under Ohio law. Specially, hemp would be defined as:
“the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, sales, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than three-tenths per cent on a dry weight basis.”
Importantly for hemp cultivators and producers, this bill would remove hemp from Ohio’s Controlled Substances Act. We previously noted in a blog post that Senate Bill 229 from the last General Assembly was set to remove Ohio’s controlled substances schedules from the Ohio Revised Code, and instead would allow the Ohio Board of Pharmacy to create the schedules by rule. That bill passed, and would have allowed sales of CBD oils that had obtained approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. However, if Senate Bill 57 passes the Ohio General Assembly, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy would no longer be able to adopt rules designating hemp and hemp products as controlled substances.
The (potential) Ohio Hemp Cultivation Program.
The Director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) would be required to establish a program to monitor and regulate hemp cultivation consistent with the requirements of the Farm Bill that Congress passed last year. The Farm Bill authorizes the cultivation of hemp and the production of hemp products through state licensing programs. Ohio’s program would include a licensing program. Licenses will be valid for five years. ODA and universities would not be required to obtain a license, but their activities would be limited to certain activities listed in the bill. Hemp cultivation would still be illegal without a license, and could result in criminal misdemeanor charges.
The bill authorizes ODA to adopt regulations regarding:
- What the license application looks like
- What information the license application requires
- How much a license costs
- How background check will be conducted, and what they will examine
- How ODA will issue, renew, deny, suspend, and revoke hemp cultivation licenses
- How ODA will keep track of the lands where hemp is grown
- How ODA will test for delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration
- How hemp products must be labeled
- How ODA will enforce the rules and conduct inspections
- “Any other requirements or procedures necessary to administer and enforce” Ohio’s hemp cultivation program
The bill would deny licenses to any person who has pleaded guilty to or been convicted of a felony relating to controlled substances in the ten years before submitting their application, along with any person found to have falsified information on their application.
To administer the program, the bill would create a Hemp Cultivation Fund in the Ohio Treasury. Application fees, fees collected from program operations, money appropriated to the program by the General Assembly or ODA, and any gifts or grants may be deposited into the fund for use in program administration.
At this time, the bill has only been introduced and referred to the Ohio Senate Agriculture Committee. Bills are often subject to amendment, so stay tuned to the Ag Law Blog for updates on Senate Bill 57. For the text of the bill, click HERE, or visit the Ohio General Assembly’s Senate Bill 57 webpage HERE.
The 133rd Ohio General Assembly and 116th United States Congress have released their committee assignments for the upcoming legislative terms. Chamber leaders like the House Speaker or party leaders generally select committee chairs and members, but the members themselves often have an opportunity to preference their assignments. Below are the lists of representatives and senators on each of the agriculture-related committees, with brief biographies of committee leaders included. Ohio readers may note that the agriculture committees for the U.S. House and U.S. Senate only have one member each from Ohio: Representative Marcia Fudge and Senator Sherrod Brown.
Here are the names to know for agriculture:
Ohio House of Representatives Agriculture and Rural Development Committee
- Chairman J. Kyle Koehler (R-Springfield). Representative Koehler is a third term member of the Ohio House, and received a Bachelor’s of Science in Computer Science from Wright State University. He worked for a number of years as a software engineer for government contractors, as well as working for his family business, K.K. Tool Company.
- Vice-Chair J. Todd Smith (R-Germantown). Representative Smith is entering his first full term as a member of the Ohio House, and is a pastor in his home community.
- Ranking Member Juanita O. Brent (D-Cleveland). Representative Brent is a first term member of the Ohio House, and has experience in non-profit and community engagement work.
- Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire)
- Rep. Randi Clites (D-Ravenna)
- Rep. Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo)
- Rep. Don Jones (R-Harrison County)
- Rep. Darrell Kick (R-Loudonville)
- Rep. Mary Lightbody (D-Westerville)
- Rep. Susan Manchester (R-Lakeview)
- Rep. Don Manning (R-New Middletown)
- Rep. John Patterson (D-Jefferson)
- Rep. Jena Powell (R-Arcanum)
- Rep. Tim Schaffer (R-Lancaster)
- Rep. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati)
- Rep. Reggie Stoltzfus (R-Minerva)
- Rep. Casey Weinstein (D-Hudson)
Ohio Senate Agriculture Committee
- Chairman Frank Hoagland (R-Mingo Junction). Senator Hoagland is a first term member of the Ohio Senate. He owns a small business, and has nearly 30 years of experience as a Navy SEAL.
- Vice-Chair Brian Hill (R-Zanesville). Senator Hill is entering his first full term in the Ohio Senate. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science and an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science from Ohio State. Senator Hill raises beef cattle and grows crops on his family farm, and previously served as a Muskingum County Commissioner. Before entering the Ohio Senate, Senator Hill served in the Ohio House, where he chaired the House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee.
- Ranking Member Sean J. O’Brien (D-Bazetta). Senator O’Brien is a first term member of the Ohio Senate, and previously served three terms in the Ohio House. He holds a law degree from the University of Akron, and served as a prosecuting attorney for a number of years.
- Sen. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo)
- Sen. Bob Hackett (R-London)
- Sen. Stephen Huffman (R-Tipp City)
- Sen. Stephanie Kunze (R-Hilliard)
- Sen. Tina Maharath (D-Canal Winchester)
- Sen. Rob McColley (R-Napoleon)
- Sen. Bob Peterson (R-Washington Court House)
- Sen. Joe Uecker (R-Miami Township)
United States House of Representatives Agriculture Committee
- Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minnesota). Representative Peterson represents the western portion of Minnesota, which is predominantly rural and agricultural. He grew up on a farm, and was a Certified Public Accountant. He has many years of legislative experience at the state and federal level, and takes a keen interest in federal tax policy and conservation as it pertains to agriculture.
- Vice-Chair Alma Adams (D-North Carolina). Representative Adams’ district includes much of Charlotte, North Carolina and the surrounding areas. She taught art for over 40 years, and received her Ph.D. in Art Education and Multicultural Education from the Ohio State University in 1981. She has many years of legislative experience at the local, state, and federal level, and takes a keen interest in nutrition and education.
- Ranking Member K. Michael Conaway (R-Texas). Representative Conaway represents much of central Texas. He has a business background, having worked with former-President George W. Bush as the chief financial officer for Bush Exploration, an oil company.
- Rep. David Scott (D-Georgia)
- Rep. Jim Costa (D-California)
- Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio)
- Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Massachusetts)
- Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Texas)
- Rep. Stacey Plaskett (D-U.S. Virgin Islands)
- Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Virginia)
- Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-Connecticut)
- Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-New York)
- Rep. TJ Cox (D-California)
- Rep. Angie Craig (D-Minnesota)
- Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-New York)
- Rep. Jefferson Van Drew (D-New Jersey)
- Rep. Josh Harder (D-California)
- Rep. Kim Schrier (D-Washington)
- Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine)
- Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Illinois)
- Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-New York)
- Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-California)
- Rep. Al Lawson (D-Florida)
- Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-Arizona)
- Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-California)
- Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Arizona)
- Rep. Cindy Axne (D-Iowa)
- Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-Pennsylvania)
- Rep. Austin Scott (R-Georgia)
- Rep. Rick Crawford (R-Arkansas)
- Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tennessee)
- Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Missouri)
- Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-California)
- Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Illinois)
- Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Florida)
- Rep. Rick Allen (R-Georgia)
- Rep. Mike Bost (R-Illinois)
- Rep. David Rouzer (R-North Carolina)
- Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-Louisiana)
- Rep. Trent Kelly (R-Mississippi)
- Rep. James Comer (R-Kentucky)
- Rep. Roger Marshall (R-Kansas)
- Rep. Don Bacon (R-Nebraska)
- Rep. Neal Dunn (R-Florida)
- Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-South Dakota)
- Rep. Jim Baird (R-Indiana)
- Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-Minnesota)
United States Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry Committee
- Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kansas). Senator Roberts has served in both houses of Congress since the 1980s, and was the first person to have been the chair of both the House and Senate agriculture committees. His educational background is in journalism, and he served in the U.S. Marine Corps.
- Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan). Senator Stabenow has served in both houses of Congress, and began her career in public service at the county and state level in the late 1970s. She has long taken an interest in agricultural issues, and serves as a co-chair of the U.S. Senate Great Lakes Task Force.
- Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio)
- Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky)
- Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont)
- Sen. John Boozman (R-Arkansas)
- Sen. John Hoeven (R-North Dakota)
- Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota)
- Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa)
- Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colorado)
- Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Mississippi)
- Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York)
- Sen. Mike Braun (R-Indiana)
- Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr. (D-Pennsylvania)
- Sen. David Perdue (R-Georgia)
- Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minnesota)
- Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa)
- Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Illinois)
- Sen. John Thune (R-South Dakota)
- Sen. Deb Fisher (R-Nebraska)
As these committees take action over the next two years, we will do our best to keep you in the know. Stay tuned to the Ohio Ag Law Blog for updates.
Senate President Larry Obhof and Speaker of the House Cliff Rosenberger have made committee assignments for the new session of Ohio’s 132nd General Assembly. While there are no major changes to committee structure or leadership, the committees contain many new members, including several legislators serving their first terms as legislators.
Sen. Cliff Hite (R-Findlay) will again chair the Senate’s Agriculture Committee, with newly elected Sen. Frank Hoagland (R-Mingo Junction) serving as vice chair and first Senate termer Sen. Sean O’Brien (D-Bazetta) appointed as the ranking minority member. O’Brien previously served three terms in the House of Representatives, which included a term on its Agriculture and Rural Development Committee.
- Returning from last session’s Agriculture Committee are Senators Bill Beagle (R-Tipp City), Bob Peterson (R-Washington Court House) and Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood).
- New to the committee are Senators Bob Hackett (R-London), previous House member Stephanie Kunze (R-Hilliard), Frank Larose (R-Hudson), Charleta Tavares (D-Columbus) and Joe Uecker (R-Miami Township).
Rep. Brian Hill (R-Zanesville) will again lead the House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee with Rep. Kyle Koehler (R-Springfield) serving as vice chair for the first time and Rep. John Patterson (D-Jefferson) returning as the ranking minority member.
- Representatives Jack Cera (D-Bellaire), Christina Hagan (R-Marlboro Township), Michael O’Brien (D-Warren), Bill Patmon (D-Cleveland), Jeff Rezabek (R-Clayton), Michael Sheehy (D-Toledo) and Andy Thompson (R-Marietta) will return to the committee.
- New to both the House of Representatives and the committee are Representatives Rick Carfagna (R-Genoa Township), Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville), Darrell Kick (R-Loudonville), Scott Lipps (R-Franklin) and Dick Stein (R-Norwalk).
- New to the committee are Representatives Candice Keller (R-Middletown), David Leland (R-Columbus) and Derek Merrin (R-Monclova Township), along with Former Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina).
Neither committee has a meeting scheduled at this time. Follow the committees' work in the new legislative session at https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/.