I want to present my side of the story about the proposed temporary moratorium of growing legal industrial hemp in Plumas County, as I always listen to the testimony, evidence, read the materials presented and ask questions. It’s not a script for a western and making fun of people and should not be portrayed as such.
Yes, I voted against the temporary moratorium allowing legal industrial hemp growing farmers to continue, and I don’t regret my vote. There was a poster child group presented by the Sheriff on how to do it all wrong and we got that. Plumas County staff (Ag Commissioner, Building Dept, and Environmental Health) were on the property, saw the damage, the issues, did not cite them, but gave them time to come up with a plan to correct. That is how it works. No one was arrested and charged with a crime.
To correct the misinformation that is being presented by various community spokespeople, The Plumas Board of Supervisors as well as the Sheriff, received a signed and detailed copy of a legitimate Hemp Agriculture Research Agreement No. 1900796 By and Between Green Emerald, LLC and The Board of Regents of Nevada of the Nevada System of Higher Education obo University of Nevada, Reno before the public hearing.
The detailed project is titled “Agronomic Research Project on Industrial Hemp Production in the Sierra Valley of California 2019.” The project includes data collection methods, maps and diagrams, and budget. Green Emerald LLC also got all necessary permits with Plumas County. The ranch owner and member of Green Emerald LLC, Kevin McInerney, is a former federal prosecutor who has had a ranch in Vinton for 16 years. He did everything legal and followed the law. His agreement was a model on what and hemp agricultural research project should look like.
Federal and State law has passed allowing the growing of industrial hemp. New state regulations (testing) were issued and effective June 10, 2019. The fears of lack of regulations have been abated, some of us knew this would happen quickly. You can sign up for updates and get educated on the regulations: www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/regs_hemp-4940. Counties can also put their own controls, as we are working on now with the Ag Commissioner who is the county department in charge of growing this agricultural commodity.
I had trouble with the language in the temporary moratorium on the cultivation of industrial hemp. We have some legitimate research agreements for two hemp cultivation projects and as by state regulations, registered growers with Ag Commissioner, so to suggest the honest farmers as conducting criminal activities did not pass the muster with me. Plus, there was this interesting clause in the temporary moratorium:
“Industrial hemp and cannabis are not compatible crops. Thus, if this Board of Supervisors elects to pursue a particular option with respect to the outdoor cultivation of cannabis, the existence of industrial hemp grows maintained by “Established Agricultural Research Institutions” may preclude the Board of Supervisors from considering certain projects or development plans.”
What?! Now we are considering cultivation of the other cannabis, so we cannot grow industrial hemp because they are not compatible crops? There is so much irony in that paragraph. After all the “Against Measure B” campaigning in which the Sheriff himself signed the argument against Measure B on the ballot, and a permanent ban was voted in favor of, now we need to reconsider? Give me a break! Not compatible crops, there is a loaded sentence. Why would anyone grow cannabis and industrial hemp together? Isn’t this part of the fear factor presented by various community members?
Letters of support for allowing the growing of industrial hemp in Plumas County and against the emergency moratorium included: California Cattlemen’s Association, Feather River Resource Conservation District, Mike Flanigan of Leavitt Group, Dryden Plumbing and Heating, Kristi Jamason, Ken Donnell, Gorjeana Williams, Linda Villasenor, William Loveridge, Nansi Wattenburg Bohne, etc.
California Farm Bureau Foundation’s supporting letter to the BOS stated that the American Farm Bureau Federation who “support the production, processing, commercialization and utilization of hemp and California Farm Bureau and its county affiliates recognize recent federal and state action to legitimize hemp as a viable agricultural commodity.”
U.S. Code, Section 1516 “Agricultural Commodity Defined”
“Agricultural commodity,” as used in this subchapter, means wheat, cotton, flax, corn, dry beans, oats, barley, rye, tobacco, rice, peanuts, soybeans, sugar beets, sugar cane, tomatoes, grain sorghum, sunflowers, raisins, oranges, sweet corn, dry peas, freezing and canning peas, forage, apples, grapes, potatoes, timber and forests, nursery crops, citrus, and other fruits and vegetables, nuts, tame hay, native grass, hemp, aquacultural species (including, but not limited to, any species of finfish, mollusk, crustacean, or other aquatic invertebrate, amphibian, reptile, or aquatic plant propagated or reared in a controlled or selected environment), or any other agricultural commodity, excluding stored grain, determined by the Board, or any one or more of such commodities, as the context may indicate.
If you would like to see how unthreatening a legal hemp farm is, check out this link to our local Sierra Valley Roberti Family hemp grow last year that was on Channel 10 News: www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfGjBIjE9mM&t=3s.
Leadership on any level is not perfect, but involves listening to everyone, finding the facts, and finding solutions.