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A Time to Reflect and Celebrate in Ohio


When I wrote about Ohio’s hemp regulations a couple weeks ago, I didn’t envision the saga becoming a trilogy. At the time it just seemed like another example of failure at the statehouse in Columbus and a delay in discussing hemp regulations until the fall. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the Ohio state legislature passed regulations on growing hemp and selling CBD, all in one day. A surprising and well-received turn of events to be sure, especially in the cannabis community.

“We are thrilled that Bill 57 has passed, decriminalizing hemp cultivation and the retail sale of hemp derivatives, like CBD, in Ohio,” Nic Balzer, Co-Founder and CEO of Queen City Hemp, told The Marijuana Times. “As Ohio’s first manufacturers of hemp-based wellness products, we have been vocal supporters of this bill alongside the countless farmers, small business owners and consumers who supported this action. With this new law, Ohio is distinguishing hemp from marijuana – just as the federal government has done – and clearing up any gray area concerning the production and sale of hemp in all its forms. It’s a major victory for our state and the hemp industry at large, and makes products like our CBD seltzer accessible once again in our hometown of Cincinnati.”

And hemp regulations aren’t the only reason for cannabis community celebration in Ohio. The momentum behind decriminalization measures in the state continues to grow, with cities like Toledo, Dayton, Cincinnati and Columbus on board.

Many smaller towns in Ohio have followed a similar path, like Norwood, a suburb of Cincinnati. The victory there was recently celebrated during The Norwood Day Parade. I discussed the parade with E.R. Beach, owner of Hemptations, on one of the three video shows I do (clip can be found here). Beach was at the parade this year just as he is every year.

“As always, we get a really good reception [at the parade],” Beach said. “We go down on behalf of Amy Wolfinbarger who, if you don’t know who Amy is, she is actually running for council in Ward 4 in Norwood.” (More details about Amy’s run can be found here.)

“She has done more in Cincinnati to push cannabis forward in a positive light than just about anybody I know,” he said.

Amy is also the founder of Sensible Norwood, the group behind the decriminalization effort. Earlier this week, a few dozen activists took to the streets of Norwood during the parade to thank the voters who supported and passed the measure. It was also a good opportunity to raise awareness about cannabis laws – which is always useful, no matter what part of the country you are in.

Things are going well on several fronts in Ohio, but there is still much more to be accomplished. Thankfully the state has a great group of core activists who know how to get things done.