July 24, 2019 6:43 am

CALIFORNIA & INDUSTRIAL HEMP CHALLENGE: AGRICULTURAL COMMODITY OR CANNABIS

The California Department of Food and Agriculture established an industrial hemp program for the registration of industrial hemp cultivators. Under the program, applicants must contact a local county agricultural commissioner to register for the program and abide by any local restrictions.

Businesses interested in starting a hemp company may have trouble finding a county to register in ahead of the 2020 growing season. According to our data, seventeen (17) counties currently allow hemp cultivation, twenty-six (26) counties implemented a temporary moratorium that would give them time to figure out what to do, fifteen (15) counties are silent on whether hemp is permitted, and two (2) counties are moving quickly towards implementation. California counties are struggling with whether to treat hemp as an agricultural commodity or to regulate the industry with restrictions like cannabis.

The California Legislature introduced a bill that has been ordered to its final reading will include hemp and cannabis as agricultural use under the Williams Act. This would remove some disagreement around the treatment of cultivation under local ordinances and provide firm guidance that hemp is an agricultural commodity.

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