Mendocino County to Prohibit Hemp Growing Until California Hemp Program is Operational

The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors will meet on Tuesday, February 26, 2019 to discuss adopting an ordinance that would prohibit the growing of hemp in the county. The temporary moratorium is needed until California’s Industrial Hemp Advisory Board develops the regulations for the registration and oversight of hemp cultivators. Mendocino County’s ordinance indicates that persons who grow hemp ahead of these regulations will violate the county’s cannabis regulations including the evasion of the cannabis tax. Growing hemp before the county is prepared could cause cross-pollination risks to licensed outdoor cannabis cultivators in the county. The county is concerned that pollen from the male hemp plants will travel and cross pollinate with female cannabis plants, which would result in the destruction of the cannabis crop. Mendocino County also notes that California has yet to identify and approve seed sources for industrial hemp. The county notes that unapproved hemp seeds can increase the risk of exotic weed infestation or plant disease, which are costly to eradicate. Under the ordinance, the Board of Supervisors has directed the county’s staff to prepare an ordinance addressing these risks and the process for growing hemp.