Ginseng regulations considered in Ohio

American ginseng. (Photo/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
American ginseng. (Photo/U.S. Fish and Wildlife

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – State officials are reviewing new ginseng regulations as the number of Ohioans digging and selling the medicinal root increases.

The Columbus Dispatch reports 70 ginseng dealers were registered in Ohio last year, up from 49 in 2013. The state also saw an increase in ginseng diggers last year, nearly doubling from about 4,600 in 2013 to more than 8,900 in 2014.

Valuable for its medicinal benefits, the dried root is worth as much as $800 a pound.

Regulators are discussing charging a fee for now-free annual dealer permits, and considering whether diggers — who don’t currently need a permit — should be required to receive and pay for one.

The issue of digging up ginseng hit home in Preble County back in 2012.  A farmer was sentenced to prison for shooting and killing a man that was trespassing on his property, while trying to dig up ginseng. Joseph Kutter got the minimum three year voluntary manslaughter sentence for the death of Bobby Jo Grubbs. He is scheduled to be released from prison in June 2016.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources will hold a meeting in March for public comment on possible regulations.

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