California county rejects hemp moratorium amid statewide confusion

A central California county of about a quarter-million people has changed its mind on banning hemp, a rare victory for the industry in a state that has yet to establish a commercial hemp market.

San Luis Obispo County officials voted this week against a proposed moratorium on commercial hemp production.

The reversal came after “a parade of local growers” opposed the proposal from county staff, The (San Luis Obispo) Tribune reported.

“We are about ready to plant, and you are about to pull the rug out from under us,” warned Wayne Richmond of the California Hemp Foundation.

A pending bill at the California Legislature allows local governments to ban hemp production, with counties getting broad leeway if they fear that hemp pollen could contaminate commercial marijuana operations.

Other counties across California, including Riverside and Shasta, are moving ahead with plans to ban hemp production.

California voters authorized hemp production in 2016, the same time they approved recreational marijuana sales.

But the Golden State has yet to issue a single commercial hemp license as California struggles to craft hemp regulations that don’t impede on the state’s thriving marijuana industry.