“The shocker in all of this is that the Draft Ordinance allows processing of CBD oil with a use permit in all zonings except Rural Residential (RR). CBD oil processing has strong odors, involves the use of toxic materials (solvents), calls for permanent buildings and multiple employees and can be a fire hazard. This is also a manufacturing process that is normally disallowed in zonings that are not designated for that use. There is a reason to keep ag zonings for agriculture – to keep arable soil available and not covered.”
FOG Update – The Downside of Hemp
You might ask why we are getting involved with the Hemp Ordinance and not just sticking with our concerns about cannabis and setbacks to our West County Trail and to schools and homes. Hemp sounds so benign, right? Actually, it’s not.
Only expert and expensive testing can tell the difference. And there are other problems in the County’s attempt to get hemp protected by the Right-to-Farm ordinance, which means that if the draft Hemp Ordinance goes as the industry would like, there will be no setbacks to anything except in one county zoning (AR-Agricultural & Residential). Hemp can be grown right up to the trail or your child’s school or your bedroom window.
To make it simple, there are odors with both crops and for some people these “terpenes” can make their lives miserable or even make them sick. Hemp can also disguise cannabis and hemp is extremely flammable, so much so that it has been declared an extreme fire hazard (International Maritime Code – http://www.tis-gdv.de/tis_e/ware/fasern/hanf/hanf.htm#temperatur). Come October, would you be comfortable with a hemp crop (8′ high) right on your fenceline? As a Right-to-Farm crop, growers will not have to observe any setbacks except in one zoning. They can, at their discretion, observe what are called Best Management Practices (BMPs) but that is completely voluntary self-regulation.
The shocker in all of this is that the Draft Ordinance allows processing of CBD oil with a use permit in all zonings except Rural Residential (RR). CBD oil processing has strong odors, involves the use of toxic materials (solvents), calls for permanent buildings and multiple employees and can be a fire hazard. This is also a manufacturing process that is normally disallowed in zonings that are not designated for that use. There is a reason to keep ag zonings for agriculture – to keep arable soil available and not covered.
FOG does not support the draft ordinance. The Board of Supervisor’s hearing on this is scheduled right during the holidays: Tuesday, December 16, time to be determined. If you have concerns about unregulated hemp growing, then best to attend the hearing and/or write an email to the Supervisors. The Planning Commission has already voted 4-1 to proceed with the draft ordinance without really listening to the concerns of the public. Here is what you can do:
Tell the Board in your own words about your concerns. Please use your own words and own order. These points are suggestions:
- You object to the scheduling of the BOS hearing for the holiday period. The hearing should be moved into January, when more people can attend.
- You urge the County to extend the moratorium one year so that the neighborhood concerns can be hashed out. The Cannabis Ordinance was rushed through and now is already in revision. The public needs more time to review this.
- You don’t agree that hemp should be subject to the Right-to-Farm Act. It’s a new, untested crop, it can disguise cannabis and the odors make many people miserable or sick. Although the draft ordinance addresses enforcement of the hemp/cannabis problem, we know that the County simply does not have adequate staffing for this task.
- Regardless of any zoning, hemp should be set back 1000′ from all residences, schools and parks. That is the suggested setback to lessen odors from cannabis, which is really the same crop.
- Manufacturing/processing of CBD oil from hemp should be restricted to manufacturing and industrial zonings where it is more appropriate.
- You do not support hemp being allowed in any residential zoning.
- You understand that odors are measurable and request that the County use science to measure them instead of claiming that all odors are subjective.
- You support a 10 acre minimum for hemp crops.
- You believe that the Hemp Ordinance should be subject to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) because there will be impacts to neighbors of hemp operations.
- You recommend hemp be disallowed in the 5 impaired watersheds, where water availability is low and further withdrawals of water will thwart efforts to restore historical salmon runs.
Please send your emails to:
Please correct your BOS addresses to those below. Shirlee Zane has a new aide and Jenny Chamberlain’s address was incorrect.
An easy way to keep this information handy is to make an address book for the BOS in your email program.