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Nevada County bans industrial hemp cultivation

John Orona | Staff Writer

Nevada County’s temporary ban on industrial hemp cultivation has become permanent.

The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to enact an ordinance banning industrial hemp cultivation, as an urgency ordinance approved last February extending the ban is set to expire next month.

The board first implemented a moratorium in April 2019, wanting to focus on its cannabis ordinance and to give time for the state to create regulations.

The supervisors noted the ban could be amended in the future as the state solidifies its hemp regulations, which were required after the crop was removed from the federally controlled substances list in 2018.

“For us to want to piggy back on the state is going to be a long ride, and I don’t think it’s a ride we want to take,” said Supervisor Dan Miller, who was voted in as board chair at the meeting.

Supervisor Sue Hoek was elected as vice chair.

Supervisors expressed interest in revisiting the industry in three to five years.

“It may be something that we’re going to want to look at and study,“ Supervisor Ed Scofield said. ”If we really have a strong interest in hemp then we can look at it again, but at this time I think we still have a long way to go with our cannabis industry.“

Most public commenters, several of whom were cannabis growers, supported the ban, citing the possibility of hemp damaging the cannabis industry though cross-pollination.

Others were concerned about the ability to enforce consistent regulations on both cannabis and hemp, which are typically only distinguishable through laboratory testing.

“We need to rely define our own cannabis industry better before we start going into another area,” Scofield said.

According to Agricultural Commissioner Chris de Nijs, the county has not received much interest from businesses that want to cultivate hemp.

Staff also clarified that people will still be able to manufacture products using hemp, so long as it’s not cultivated in the county.s

To contact Staff Writer John Orona, email jorona@theunion.com or call 530-477-4229.


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