Supes in favor of industrial hemp

By unanimous vote, the Lassen County Board of Supervisors approved ordinances amending various county codes allowing for the cultivation of industrial hemp.

The board approved the ordinance during its Tuesday, June 18 meeting. However, while the board approved the amendment –– which takes affect 30 days after final adoption –– those looking to grow hemp in the unincorporated areas of the county still have to wait for the board to pass the ordinance amending Title 18 — the county’s zoning code.

The first review of the Title 18 hemp ordinance amendments is expected to go before the board Tuesday, June 25. (The board passed it. Read the article in the July 2 issue of the Times.)

Included in the amendments to Titles 1, 3, 6, and 19 approved Tuesday was language allowing for the cultivation of industrial hemp, the establishment of a tax rate for such activity, the exemption from the county’s right to farm protections and some changes to the nuisance abatement provisions.

Included in the amendments for Title 19 were some regulations for the cultivation of industrial hemp in the unincorporated areas of Lassen County.

“All industrial hemp operations in the unincorporated territory of Lassen County must at all times be in compliance with both federal and state statutes and regulations as may exist at the time of adoption of this ordinance and that may be amended from time to time,” read the proposed amended title.

Other changes for industrial hemp-included operations must be in compliance with all terms and conditions of state licenses, permits and other entitlement by the State Department of Food and agriculture, as well as in compliance with Lassen County Code Title 18, which is up for amending.

Additionally, “All industrial hemp cultivation operations in the unincorporated territory of Lassen County are limited to legal parcels 19 acres in size or larger,” the introduced draft ordinance read. “All industrial hemp operations in the unincorporated territory of Lassen County are subject to unimpeded site visit and crop and/or product testing on six hours notice by agents of the County of Lassen Department of the Agriculture Commissioner.”

Moreover, “All industrial hemp cultivation must be maintained in excess of 150 yards from any residence not in common ownership with the parcel upon which the cultivation is occurring.”

The ordinance also included language regarding the taxing of industrial hemp: “For the cultivation of industrial hemp, there is imposed upon each person engaged in such business a tax of $100 per acre, or portion thereof, under cultivation, with a $500 minimum per parcel.”

For those engaging in the industrial hemp activity other than cultivation, such as manufacturing, distribution, processing, laboratory testing, packaging, labeling, transportation, delivery or sale, the tax is the same as the cannabis business tax, listed as 2.5 percent of gross receipts.

During the meeting, Supervisor Aaron Albaugh noted he still believed the county was making a mistake allowing indoor grows, but ultimately voted in favor of the ordinance.