Residents’ considerations lead council to quash hemp

The regulation follows the new district regulations

Acorn stick

CUT OFF – The city council has decided to ban the cultivation of hemp in the moor park. RICHARD GILLARD / Acorn Newspapers

It is officially illegal to grow industrial hemp in the moor park.

During a session on February 17, the city council unanimously passed an amendment to the zoning ordinance that banned the planting and cultivation of new crops within the city limits of Moorpark. The rules cemented part of the Temporary Emergency Ordinance adopted by the Council in December 2019 and which was renewed twice until the end of this year.

Other cities like Simi Valley, Camarillo, and Thousand Oaks have taken similar measures.

The ban follows a long series of discussions about the rules governing the cultivation, testing, processing, storage and sale of industrial hemp, as well as the manufacture of hemp products.

The city council is expected to take a “step-by-step approach” to approving or disapproving other hemp companies within the city limits, the staff said.

The council’s vote to ban hemp cultivation also follows the passage of a similar measure by the Ventura County Regulatory Agency in December.

District ordinance, which went into effect Jan. 14, banned the cultivation of hemp within a 1,200 foot radius of sensitive locations such as homes, schools and hospitals. The measure also prohibits the cultivation of hemp in the Tierra Rejada valley, which is located in the area without legal personality on the south side of the moor park.

Ventura County began reviewing industrial hemp in 2019 when Ventura County’s farmers began growing the crop following the passage of the 2018 Federal Agriculture Act that separated hemp from marijuana and defined hemp as an agricultural commodity. The bill allowed farmers to legally crow the crop if they applied for a license, paid a fee, and ensured their crops contained less than 0.3% THC, the psychoactive chemical found in marijuana.

Shortly after hemp was planted and harvested, local residents – especially those who lived near the Tierra Rejada Valley – complained about the skunk-like smell of the crop, saying it caused headaches, nausea and sore throats. They feared the ubiquitous smell could lower home values, and feared that growing hemp could attract crime to the area.

The complaints prompted Ventura County and Moorpark City Council to regulate industrial hemp.