Hemp Farming Delayed in Merced County

Merced County supervisors have approved a 45-day freeze on hemp farming in unincorporated areas, allowing them additional time to develop regulations and verification measures. The moratorium is likely to be extended after the 45-day period.

Sheriff Vern Warnke supported the freeze. His main concern is ensuring that hemp cultivation isn't used as a front for growing commercial marijuana, which is prohibited in unincorporated Merced. Supervisors are worried about that too. They also expressed concerns about pests and odor issues.

Farmers are unhappy about the ban, as it quashes a potentially lucrative industry — at least temporarily. Researchers also expressed displeasure since the moratorium covers hemp grown by research facilities as well.

Supervisor Rodrigo Espinoza cast the lone no vote.

Read more at the Merced Sun-Star