Supervisors in Ventura County are looking at implementing land use protections to stop the pervasive smell of cannabis production from overrunning the countryside. This issue is being looked at after many homeowners from Moorpark have complained about the skunk-like smell that cannabis produces.
The Moorpark Community Center was packed with 200 people on Tuesday to protest this issue and implore legislators to take action.
Fifty citizens voiced their opinions to the Board of Supervisors. Most of them complained about the smell of the hemp, as well as citing alleged allergic reactions and headaches that had been caused by proximity to the crop.
Citizens are also concerned that their property values will drop because of their proximity to the crop. They are upset that they were not warned prior to planting that the hemp would be located so close to their homes.
Several farmers stood up to voice support of the crop while supporting the idea of working together to solve these problems. They argue the difficulty that farmers have to be profitable in such an expensive area, and are lobbying for help from the county to keep their farms in the black.
With the state’s open meetings law, it was impossible for any action to be proposed or enacted at the meeting. The only thing they could do was receive a report on hemp production from Agricultural Commissioner Ed Williams. Instead, the supervisors gave direction to the next steps to move forward with the movement.
Legal counsel is now being consulted to investigate the ability for the county to temporarily stop issuing permits for producing hemp.
The county is looking to either ban hemp production or enforce buffer zones around areas that don’t want the smell to be present like residential areas, schools, nursing homes, and hospitals.
The county is hoping to have a ruling by December and have a plan in place by the 2020 growing season.