The Trinity County urgency ordinance temporarily banning industrial hemp cultivation in the county was extended for another 10 months and 15 days last week by the Board of Supervisors while work is initiated to research and develop permanent regulations. The urgency ordinance, enacted by the board on June 27 for a 45-day period, is subject to an additional one-year extension beyond the first by a future vote of the board.

With regulation of industrial hemp continually evolving at federal and state levels, the county has opted for a cultivation ban until it becomes clearer how hemp will be regulated in the context of existing rules for cannabis. Industrial hemp is defined as any cannabis plant with no more than three-tenths of one percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), posing a concern that its production will undermine existing cannabis regulations under California’s Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act.

Trinity County Agriculture Commissioner Joseph Moreo indicated the purpose of the county’s urgency ordinance is to allow time for the county to assess the impacts of potential industrial hemp production in Trinity County and to explore reasonable regulatory options before implementing a hemp program.

In that effort, the county has sent out surveys to its licensed cannabis producers and researched other hemp regulations in other jurisdictions. Public meetings will be scheduled for all affected parties in locations throughout the county. The draft of a permanent hemp ordinance would be subject to the normal public hearing process and future board approval.

Sup. John Fenley made the motion to approve the extension of the urgency ordinance for 10 and a half months, then voted against it so it carried 4-1. He has said he opposes the urgency ordinance because he thinks it is unnecessary and the state should be dealing with the regulations quickly to avoid undue burden on counties.

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