Pictured: Industrial hemp crops in Camarillo. Picture by Michael Sullivan.

by Kimberly Rivers

[email protected]

In accordance with the 2018 Ventura County Crop Report, 63 acres of hemp have been grown final yr, valued at $2.04 million. This yr, with a brand new regulatory framework, Ventura County has issued permits for 4,000 acres.

“Now we have been issuing new hemp rising permits since early Could,” mentioned Andy Calderwood, Ventura County Deputy Agricultural Commissioner. He oversees the regulatory program for industrial hemp in Ventura County. Calderwood mentioned there was a “queue of individuals ready to register” when the brand new rules went into impact and that a lot of the rising will likely be performed by long-time growers of different crops.

Out of 33 functions, 31 permits have been issued. Calderwood emphasised that there are not any restrictions on areas the place hemp may be grown in agriculture-zoned parcels.

All registered grows should use an “permitted seed cultivar,” pursuant to the brand new guidelines. “For it to be thought-about industrial, it may possibly solely have 0.three THC In accordance with the 2018 Ventura County Crop Report, 63 acres of hemp have been grown final yr, valued at $2.04 million. This yr, with a brand new regulatory … by dry weight or much less. This isn’t leisure pot or marijuana,” mentioned Calderwood. He mentioned it’s the identical sort Canada grows for grain, “They develop it for the seed crop for meals. You should purchase it at Dealer Joe’s.”

“The largest [investors] should not rising it themselves however hiring current native farmers, like Boskovich, Rutledge, Terry, Ishibashi and Swift. Every a kind of is dabbling in doing one to 4 fields of hemp, performing as contract farmers and being paid for his or her farming experience,” Calderwood added.

“If you happen to have been to take a drive out the 126 east of Piru, you’ll see about 300 acres of knee-high hemp crops,” mentioned John Krist, govt director of the Ventura County Farm Bureau. He mentioned a gaggle of traders have pooled their assets to develop at this location. The potential has “attracted funding cash from exterior the realm . . . It’s a very good crop in some ways for Ventura County . . . a water-efficient crop that generates excessive worth is good . . . Excessive worth is crucial in case you’re going to make a go of it.”

“We noticed the identical factor with raspberries within the county,” Krist mentioned, explaining, “Preliminary yields have been low, then it turned one of many prime crops. The identical type of factor goes to occur with hemp. Now we have no processing capability within the county. I’m unsure the place it’s going to go.”

VC hemp not for CURE

At present, that hemp gained’t be going to Oxnard-based CURE Prescription drugs, the one firm in Ventura County that has the power to course of and legally manufacture cannabinoid merchandise. As a substitute, the corporate is sourcing hemp from an Oklahoma grower, Fytiko Farms.

“They’re doing actually fascinating work within the tissue culturing of the hemp plant,” mentioned Rob Davidson, CURE CEO. He mentioned Fytiko is working on the genetic degree to yield particular properties of the plant and that the product is totally different from what’s being harvested by those that are “leaping into the inexperienced rush. Plenty of non-farmers are beginning to develop hemp. We’re not fascinated by being part of that; we wish to work with true agricultural scientists with expertise in rising many crops.”

CURE is creating a cannabinoid pharmaceutical product administered by a prescription-only oral skinny movie, which necessitates a really explicit hemp product. “We’re a registered pharmaceutical firm with the FDA . . . with Schedule 1 certification,” mentioned Davidson.

CURE is creating a skinny oral movie designed to manage a prescription solely cannabis product nonetheless being developed.

“We’re not promoting or meting out THC, CBD in dispensaries,” he continued — one of many causes CURE hasn’t run into any hurdles within the county. All of its actions are federally regulated. “I’ve to credit score my crew. We’re the one firm within the U.S. to have a Schedule 1 DEA license as a drug-delivery firm.”

Davidson defined CURE wants the “capability to actually safe the availability chain from seed to finish product,” and the growers in Ventura County are simply getting began.

Hemp fields creating some fuss

“The entire concept is to do some vetting on the entrance,” mentioned Calderwood, to make sure that solely allowed hemp varieties are being grown. He factors out that the one hemp strains allowed are totally different from the marijuana plant most individuals image. One month prior to reap “a crew will take a regular pattern, ship to the lab for THC evaluation. Whether it is above the allowed degree of THC, then the crop must be destroyed.”

When requested in regards to the considerations of odors close to faculties or houses being raised by residents in areas like Ojai, he mentioned, “That isn’t a priority. It isn’t thought-about to be any type of hazard for college youngsters. The reality is, for a crop adjoining to a faculty, [ hemp] is without doubt one of the finest varieties [of crops] to have as a result of solely the mildest and least poisonous pesticides can be utilized on it.”

He defined that the required pesticide testing hasn’t been performed for hemp, so solely a brief checklist of issues can be utilized, together with peppermint oil, some bacterium brokers and others that meet the natural normal. “No normal pesticides may be at present used on hemp,” mentioned Calderwood.

Relating to the odors related to the plant, “I’m unsure how the scent negatively impacts the children, I’m guessing it negatively impacts the grown-ups greater than the children,” mentioned Calderwood. “There’s a specific amount of fussiness about this. Individuals are not going to get excessive from this plant. If youngsters get some, dry it . . . properly, it’d treatment them of any curiosity in marijuana. Frankly, they’d be very disillusioned.”

For extra data on rising industrial hemp in California go to: www.calcannabis.cdfa.ca.gov