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BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. – Hemp farming has been legal in Butte County for about a year. It costs about $900 for a hemp permit.
As of now, there are no regulations on hemp. Butte County Agricultural Commissioner Louis Mendoza said that could change.
“I think the odor component and because it looks like marijuana,” Mendoza said. “So I think there are some concerns there whether to implement some type of buffers for sensitive receptors, for example, around schools.”
Mendoza said it depends on what the board defines as a sensitive receptor. He said they will follow up with the board after receiving a draft ordinance.
Action News Now spoke to Managing Partner of NorCal Hemp, Luke Wilson, about regulation on hemp.
“If you put restrictions on us farmers and make it harder and if not impossible to grow this crop in this area, then we're just going to do it in an area we can,” Wilson said. “And that area is going to reap the economic reward that this crops going to bring and you’re going to take our area and our farmers to miss out on that economic benefit that we can get.”
The District Attorney is asking county leaders to make sure their ordinances make it clear and simple for law enforcement to patrol, especially due to the similarity in looks of hemp and marijuana.
Hemp and marijuana plants look almost identical but it’s what you can’t see that sets them apart.
THC is the chemical in marijuana plants that gets you high. Hemp farmer Luke Wilson said hemp THC levels must be less than 3%.
And while hemp can’t get you high it can help your heart. According to Web MD, it’s good for your immune system and a good source of protein.
Wilson told Action News Now it's also given a lot of people jobs.
“It will definitely bring a lot more jobs to Butte County,” Wilson said. “Last year we employed about 300 people for about two months during harvest, so we sprinkled a lot of money around our community. It’s a huge benefit to the ag labor chops.”
Wilson said there are currently 25 registered hemp farmers in Butte County. Many must decide if they’ll keep growing hemp or change crops.