Moratorium on hemp cultivation
On November 17th, 2020, the Board of Supervisors voted to enact Ordinance No. 2020-28, an urgency interim ordinance imposing a 45 day moratorium on industrial hemp cultivation. On December 15th, 2020, the Board voted to enact Ordinance No. 2020-30, extending the moratorium until March 10th, 2021. While the moratorium is in effect, no new registrations for the cultivation of hemp will be issued, and current registrations will not be renewed upon expiration.
The purpose of the moratorium is to give the county time to develop a permanent ordinance that will provide local requirements for the cultivation of industrial hemp.
What is industrial hemp?
"Industrial hemp" or “hemp” is an agricultural product that is defined as any part of the Cannabis sativa L. plant, including the seeds of the plant and all derivatives, extracts, the resin extracted from any part of the plant, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of no more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis. Hemp has been excluded from the definition of marijuana at the federal level, and is no longer regulated as a controlled substance.
Can I legally grow industrial hemp in Contra Costa County?
Yes you can. Before you plant, you must register with the Contra Costa County Department of Agriculture. It costs $900 to register and registration is valid for one year. Hemp cultivation registration forms (PDF) are available through the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) Industrial Hemp website.
Contra Costa does not have any county-specific ordinances related to cultivating industrial hemp and does not charge any fees beyond the $900 registration fee.
As part of the application process, you must identify the outline of the growing area where the hemp will be cultivated and the cultivar that you will plant. You must have a cover letter issued by the Contra Costa Department of Agriculture that documents this information before you start planting.
If you intend to sell transplants, seedlings, or tissue culture plants, you will also need to obtain a license to sell nursery stock (PDF).
If you have been convicted of a felony related to a controlled substance, you are ineligible to participate in the program for 10 years following the date of conviction.
What else should I know if I’m thinking about growing Industrial Hemp?
Contra Costa County is currently following the state of California’s laws and regulations with regard to hemp cultivation. The California Department of Food & Agriculture is required to develop a state plan that meets federal requirements and submit it to USDA by May 1, 2020. This means that significant regulatory changes are possible as California attempts to align its program with the requirements of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Please feel free to contact our office if you have any questions about cultivating hemp in Contra Costa County.