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SLO County supervisors to consider temporary moratorium on industrial hemp

Posted at 1:56 PM, Jun 17, 2019

The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors will hold a hearing Tuesday to consider the adoption of an urgency ordinance for industrial hemp.

If the ordinance is approved, it would establish a temporary moratorium on the cultivation of industrial hemp, with some exceptions, in all unincorporated areas of the county.

According to information from the County Agricultural Commissioner, 12 industrial hemp cultivation operations have been approved in San Luis Obispo County, totaling about 82.3 acres.

Industrial hemp is defined as having no more than 0.3% THC. It’s regulated by state and federal law but was excluded from San Luis Obispo County’s cannabis ordinance.

In a report for the supervisors, the County Agricultural Commissioner brings up some potential problems with this, including odor issues, cross-pollination with permitted cannabis cultivation, and because industrial hemp and cannabis are so similar, the report says it may be difficult to determine whether illegal cannabis is being produced under the guise of hemp.

The proposed urgency ordinance needs approval from four out of five supervisors in order to pass.

If passed, it would be in effect for 45 days, but the Board of Supervisors could vote to extend it for a total of two years. The supervisors can also direct county staff to come up with a permanent ordinance regulating industrial hemp.

The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 18 at 9 a.m. in the Board of Supervisors Chambers at the San Luis Obispo County Government Center.