Just under a month after the Board of Supervisors opted to extend a ban on industrial hemp cultivation in Yolo County through January 2021, it met again to discuss regulations surrounding other activities related to the crop.
On Tuesday, Eric Will of the County Administrator’s Office spoke to the supervisors.
“While the board chose to extend the moratorium on cultivation and growing — noting that there is an exemption for indoor cultivation for nursery stock, transplants, research and seed breeding — today we’re looking at what is not formally mentioned within that ordinance or moratorium, which is processing, manufacturing and sales of industrial hemp,” Will said.
As county staff is continuing to receive requests from individuals interested in pursuing these practices, Will presented the board with three ways they could approach the situation.
The first would allow for business licenses associated with processing, manufacturing and sales of industrial hemp, the second would prohibit it temporarily until the state develops some “legal framework” that could be followed locally and the third involves adopting a permanent ban.
“While I mentioned that the state does not currently provide any requirements for processing, manufacturing or selling of non-food industrial hemp or hemp products, there is Assembly Bill 228, which is not effective yet, that proposes to establish a regulatory framework for industrial hemp products to be used for food, beverage or cosmetic uses. We have not seen additional legislation yet for selling of non-food.”
Staff recommended the second option.
Supervisor Duane Chamberlain pointed out that he knows of a few people storing hemp locally (something they cleared with county counsel) and wondered how new legislation would affect them.
Ultimately it was decided that staff would consult “industry” stakeholders and work on drafting an ordinance to ban processing, manufacturing and sales of industrial hemp that would offer a “soft landing” for those already operating at some level. The document will likely be submitted to the board for its Jan. 14 meeting.
Will also discussed a hemp workgroup — made up of employees of the County Administrator’s Office, Community Services and the Sheriff’s Office as well as cultivators — that is being established to create an ordinance for the 2021 growing season when the moratorium expires.
“I’d like note as well that when we are thinking about hemp and cannabis in general, there have been ongoing crime issues throughout the state and so staff recognizes this as we move forward with this workgroup that we’re working closely with law enforcement and our partners to make sure that any decision making is really considering the safety of our residents,” he said.