End of the road for industrial hemp in Humboldt, county supervisors ban it

That’s the end of the endless moritoriums. They have now bitten the bullet and outright banned industrial hemp

The Times Standard reports

The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a permanent ban on industrial hemp cultivation on Tuesday replacing the temporary moratorium that was set to expire May 10, 2021. Though the ban is “permanent,” the ordinance passed by supervisors will likely be amended at a future date to allow noncommercial hemp cultivation for research purposes.

The College of the Redwoods expressed interest in limited cultivation of industrial hemp for educational and research purposes at its Tompkins Hill Road campus in October 2020. Humboldt County Planning Commission staff then drafted inland and coastal industrial hemp ordinances that continued the existing moratorium in unincorporated areas of the county with an exception for CR through a special permit process.

Because the coastal zone boundary bisects the CR campus, the coastal ordinance was passed on to the Coastal Commission for review.

“We did receive comments from the Coastal Commission that suggested some changes regarding potential impacts on coastal resources,” county planner Elanah Adler told supervisors. “However, when the Planning Commission made their action (on Jan. 7) they voted to recommend approval of the draft industrial hemp ordinance without the Coastal Commission suggested changes.”

Adler warned supervisors that approval of the coastal industrial hemp ordinance without responding to the Coastal Commission’s comments and suggestions could delay certification beyond May 10, 2021, the expiration date for the temporary moratorium, which could result in “unimpeded” cultivation of industrial hemp in the coastal zone.

To avoid this, staff recommended supervisors split adoption of the industrial hemp ordinance into two steps: a “clean” ordinance banning industrial hemp cultivation without an expection for CR followed by a second ordinance to include the CR exeption following the Coastal Commission’s review.

Aside from CR, Humboldt County Agricultural Commissioner Jeff Dolf said the Planning Commission has received very little interest regarding industrial hemp cultivation. “There are only two registrants within the incorporated jurisdictions of Arcata and Rio Dell,” Dolf said.

Additionally, the ban only applies to unincorporated areas of the county and would not apply to cities, such as Arcata and Rio Dell, that are empowered to make their own rules regarding industrial hemp.

Planning Commission staff pursued a ban on industrial hemp cultivation in 2019 to address concerns from the cannabis industry regarding cross-pollination and the introduction of new pests and pathogens.

Source:  https://www.times-standard.com/2021/02/10/humboldt-county-supervisors-ban-industrial-hemp/

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