Ventura County to investigate hold on hemp permits, remedial actions for smell in light of protests

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Ventura County supervisors moved this week toward passing land-use protections to address the skunk-like smell from hemp fields just after hearing complaints from a stream of angry home owners in Moorpark.

“We can’t reside with it,” stated Rose Ayoub, 1 of roughly 200 people today who crowded into the Moorpark Neighborhood Center Tuesday evening, some spilling into the lobby and outdoors the doors. 

No action was proposed or could be taken below the state’s open meetings law other than to acquire a report on hemp production from Agricultural Commissioner Ed Williams. But supervisors could and did give path to employees on subsequent measures. 

They directed legal counsel to investigate no matter if Williams’ workplace could quit issuing permits for hemp production temporarily without operating afoul of state and federal laws.

Supervisors also asked employees to return with suggestions on how the conflicts amongst neighborhoods and hemp production can be lessened, like setting up buffers of land exactly where the crop can’t be planted. Supervisors had been interested in building protections for schools, nursing houses and day-care centers as nicely as residential regions.

“I assume we must jump on it,” stated Supervisor Bob Huber, who represents Simi Valley and Moorpark. 

The report on the issuance of permits is anticipated to come back to the board in December and the report on mitigations by the subsequent planting season in April. 

It seems that the board has considerable discretion. Supervisors can regulate hemp cultivation up to and like banning it, Chief Assistant County Counsel Michael Walker told the crowd.

About 50 people spoke to the Board of Supervisors, most complaining about the skunk-like odor and overall health difficulties, like headaches and allergic reactions they tied to hemp. 

Some residents also expressed fears that their home values would fall and objected that they did not receive advance warning that the newly legalized crop would be planted subsequent to their houses. 

“We are not guinea pigs,” Ayoub stated. “It is a nuisance.”

A minority of the speakers had been hemp farmers who defended cultivation of the crop as a way to retain agriculture viable in the higher-price county.

“Becoming a farmer is really tough,” stated Chris Massa, who farms four acres of hemp in Oxnard.

He pointed to overall health-connected utilizes of the CBD oil created from hemp, but acknowledged the residents’ issues.

“I apologize, and I hope we can function with each other,” he stated. 

While industrial hemp belongs to the exact same plant species as marijuana, it need to by definition have negligible intoxicant properties.

The plants look the exact same, but industrial hemp can’t have any appreciable level of THC, the main intoxicant in marijuana and hashish. The THC level must be tested at much less than 3-tenths of a percent for the crop to be harvested. Otherwise, it need to be destroyed, Williams stated.

Of 96 hemp websites in the county that have been sampled and tested so far, all but two passed, he stated.

A lot of thefts have been reported from hemp fields, causing issues for growers attempting to safe the crops and police investigating the crimes. 

Williams stated at least a third of the people today stealing hemp never know the distinction amongst the crop and marijuana

Folks with significant criminal records from outdoors the county are implicated in the thefts, said Moorpark Police Chief Victor Fazio. He stated that answering hemp-connected calls is taking away from time officers can commit patrolling the streets.

City officials from Ojai and Camarillo urged the board to quit issuing permits for cultivation pending more study.

Moorpark Mayor Janice Parvin stated she had heard from a lot more than 50 residents, a lot of reporting overall health issues such as sore throats, headaches and asthma. 

But she hoped frequent ground could be discovered as the board weighs the interests of residents and growers. 

“There has to be a balance,” she stated.

 

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