a field of hemp

Small Farmers Say New Hemp Rules May Create Barriers for Them

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REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio (AP) – Some Ohio farmers say the state’s proposed rules for hemp production may create a barrier that excludes smaller growers.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture’s proposed rules for the newly legalized crop require at least 1,000 plants be grown on at least a quarter acre of land.

Some farmers say the planting minimum and $500 license application fee creates a high entry barrier for an industry that doesn’t have a market yet in Ohio and already presents risks for growers.

Ohio legalized hemp production this year.

The state says plant minimums ease the burden on police in distinguishing backyard plots of hemp from illegal marijuana.

Officials say licensing fees help cover costs of federal inspection requirements.

The rules are expected to be finalized in January.