Camarillo City Council rejects industrial hemp moratorium in three-two vote


By Jeremy Childs

Vanessa Ramirez, vice president of operations of the Ventura Seed Co., talks about the industrial hemp crop expanding on 60 acres at McGrath Loved ones Farms in Camarillo. About four,000 acres of industrial hemp are registered in Ventura County. JUAN CARLO/THE STAR

The Camarillo City Council rejected a proposed moratorium on industrial hemp cultivation, bucking the trend of hemp bans in other cities in the county. 

The ordinance, which required a 4-fifths vote to pass, was rejected three-two in a council vote in the course of a meeting on Wednesday evening. Mayor Kevin Kildee, Vice Mayor Tony Trembley and Councilwoman Charlotte Craven voted in favor of the moratorium, though council members Shawn Mulchay and Susan Santangelo voted against it.

The moratorium would have stopped all future industrial hemp cultivation, processing and manufacturing inside the city for the subsequent 45 days, with the possibility of an up to two-year extension. It was added to the City Council agenda more than odor complaints from residents and public safety issues.

Industrial hemp differs from marijuana mainly in its reduced levels of the psychoactive chemical tetrahydrocannabinol, also identified as THC. Hemp consists of significantly less that .three%, though marijuana potency can be at least 10%, according to the National Institutes of Well being.

Right after California legalized recreational cannabis in a 2016 proposition, industrial hemp was banned in Camarillo due to its federal designation as a controlled substance. On the other hand, soon after passage of the Federal Agriculture Improvement Act in 2018, industrial hemp was no longer regarded as a federally controlled substance and became permitted beneath zoning regulations.

Two other cities in Ventura County have banned hemp inside their jurisdictions. Ojai banned all cultivation inside city limits, though Thousand Oaks passed a short-term prohibition.

Andy Calderwood, the county’s deputy agriculture commissioner and head of its hemp plan, mentioned roughly four,000 acres are registered this year for industrial hemp. Only 1 field measuring significantly less than 20 acres has industrial hemp inside Camarillo city limits. Across from the field, on the other side of Pleasant Valley Road, 270 acres of industrial hemp are growing on unincorporated land beneath the county’s jurisdiction. The hemp permit for the land expires in May well 2020.

Santangelo and Mulchay each mentioned the urgency of the moratorium was not warranted due to the somewhat smaller impact it would have on mitigating the odor.

“It’s not going to alter the smell. It is suitable across the street,” Santangelo mentioned.

Conversely, Kildee urged his colleagues to take action on the concern though it was nonetheless smaller as an alternative of waiting to deal with it later.

“My feeling is that this business is going to develop by leaps and bounds, and if we wait two years to have a discussion on this, that it is going to be also late,” Kildee mentioned.

Nine men and women spoke about hemp in the course of the public comment portion of the meeting, two in favor of the moratorium and seven against it. 

In the finish, the ordinance did not pass, and industrial hemp will be permitted inside Camarillo city limits for the foreseeable future.


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