Their ban the growing of low-THC hemp plants went into effect Monday, creating one of the most limited hemp/marijuana rulings in one of the most friendly hemp/marijuana counties in the state.
With its moderate climate and rich soils, Humboldt is arguably one of the cannabis world’s most important cultivation areas. The county has come to depend on the tax receipts for cannabis and in that context, this was a shrewd move.
Humboldt County put a temporary moratorium on outdoor hemp cultivation in 2018, and due to increased pressure, making Humboldt County the first county to ban outdoor cultivation of industrial hemp.
Cannabis farmers pushed for the permanent ban, citing the danger hemp farming posed to them. “This is not a new or spur of the moment decision,” explained Ross Gordon, policy director for the Humboldt County Grower’s Alliance (HCGA), last week. “The staff recommendations are the outcome of over two years of discussion and public process. To begin with, the moratorium that was passed in 2018 was continued in 2019 with several town halls and community discussions at which many cannabis farmers attended and explained the many risks that industrial hemp poses to the cannabis industry here.”
“We have a world-renowned cannabis industry. We have the highest density of cannabis farms of anywhere in North America and perhaps the world. Protecting that industry should be our top priority.”
This all but ends any farming in the county for hemp with the board unanimously voting 5-0 to make the ban permanent, replacing the temporary ban that was set to expire in May.
With the permanent ban now firmly in place this week, the Board of Supervisors will decide in the coming weeks what, if any, exceptions will be granted.
Click here to read the County’s draft ordinance.