A moratorium on new hemp businesses has been extended till September 2020 by the Thousand Oaks City Council. Initially, the city council had banned hemp businesses on September 24 for a period of 45 days. The city council held a meeting last week where they extended the moratorium for 10 months and 15 days.
The moratorium applies to all businesses looking for permits to grow, process, dry, store, manufacture, or sell industrial hemp.
On Thursday, the Assistant City Attorney, Patrick Hehir, said that existing hemp businesses such as retail shops are not affected by the moratorium because their permits were issued before the initial 45 days moratorium.
According to council member Al Adam, the extension of the moratorium is a step in the right direction for Thousand Oaks. He also said growers of hemp have been requesting vast warehouse spaces where they can dry and store their crops. They also asked for several shops on T.O Boulevard.
By definition, industrial hemp is a marijuana plant species whose THC must remain below 0.3 percent. In California, hemp was legalized for commercial purposes by voters in 2016. And, Congress legalized it federally under the 2018 Farm Bill.
Hemp contains a compound known as CBD, which is famous for its healing properties. It is used in the production of over-the-counter lotions, salts, salves, and oils that help patients manage arthritis, anxiety, insomnia, and pain, among other conditions.
Hehir wrote a memo that cited several concerns that led to the adoption of the moratorium by the City Council in September.
One of the concerns cited was that there were corrupt businesses seeking permits for selling CBD products, which are derived from industrial hemp. However, these businesses will also attempt to sell marijuana products, and this is illegal in Thousand Oaks.
Hehir further wrote that it is a challenge to distinguish between products with CBD oil from hemp and products with CBD oil from marijuana because of the similarities in their THC.
During the meeting held within the past week, Hehir noted that in Kern County, the law enforcement officials eradicated more than 10 million plants purposed to be industrial hemp but were marijuana.
In Ventura County, apart from Thousand Oaks, Ojai City Council also prohibited the cultivation of industrial hemp in August. However, the Board of Supervisors in Ventura County has allowed farming on industrial hemp in unincorporated areas.
Last month, an interim moratorium for the growth of industrial hemp within Camarillo was voted against by the City Council. There is only one field growing hemp in Camarillo, and it is 18 acres.
Residents from Santa Rosa Valley, which is located between Thousand Oaks and Camarillo, complained of the skunk odor of hemp drifting into their areas.
According to the County Agricultural Commissioner, Edmund Williams, there is a possibility of Ventura becoming one of the largest hemp cultivation regions in California. He also said most of the hemp would be sold for CBD production.
Analysts believe hemp industry actors like Green Hygienics Holdings Inc. (OTCQB: GRYN) and LiveWire Ergogenics Inc. (OTC: LVVV) are concerned by such moratoriums since they prevent residents from benefiting from an industry that was legalized federally.
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