The Agriculture Department will not be able to accept hemp registrations or monies from the CDFA Hemp contract totaling about $2,000 for the duration of the moratorium.
On November 17, 2020, the Board of Supervisors adopted Ordinance No. 2020-28, an urgency interim ordinance that established a moratorium on the cultivation and processing of industrial hemp.
This urgency ordinance extends the temporary moratorium on industrial hemp cultivation while the County continues developing reasonable regulations to mitigate the impacts and regulate the location of the cultivation of industrial hemp, which is generally defined as the Cannabis sativa L. plant with a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of 0.3% or less. Under state law, industrial hemp is not subject to the same regulatory provisions as cannabis. Industrial hemp is exempt from regulation under the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act. Accordingly, the County’s cannabis regulation ordinance, Chapter 88-28 of the County Ordinance Code, does not regulate the cultivation of industrial hemp within the unincorporated areas of Contra Costa County.
Under this ordinance, no person or entity, including any established agricultural research institution, may grow or process industrial hemp for any purpose within the unincorporated area of Contra Costa County. No County permit, registration, or approval of any type will be issued for industrial hemp cultivation or processing, and no County building permit or approval of any type will be issued for any structure used or intended to be used for industrial hemp cultivation or processing. The Contra Costa County Agricultural Commissioner will not issue a registration to any industrial hemp grower, and will not renew any existing registrations. If a grower has an active registration, the grower may continue to grow until the registration expires. A registration lasts for one year.
If extended the ordinance will be in effect for an additional period of 10 months and 15 days, and can be extend it for another year.
The failure to enact this emergency moratorium during the stated period may result in problems with enforcement of a program with insufficient regulations. Allowing more Industrial Hemp registration can create incompatibility issues with land use and licensed Cannabis crops.