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Update: Supervisors Postpone Hemp Ordinance Discussion

MADERA — Discussion of a proposed set of new County regulations spelling out how large-scale industrial hemp farming could be rolled out in Madera County was pulled from the Madera County Board of Supervisors’ agenda Tuesday morning — but not before District 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler blasted the effort so far as “too slow” in developing and, as currently written, “poorly conceived.”

Wheeler actually referred to the proposed ordinance in open session using a term that rhymes with “bull spit” — adding after the meeting that as written, the proposed ordinance conflicted with the County’s ‘Right to Farm’ policy and also gave Madera’s LAFCO (Local Agency Formation Commission) too much influence over the proposed new hemp farming policies.

“This is just way too restrictive and incomplete,” Wheeler said. “I’m glad it got pulled.”

Wheeler said he hadn’t had a chance to review all of the specifics contained in the ordinance until late Monday. “To [comply] with all the rules and details that were included in it, it would have created a virtual moratorium on hemp farming in Madera County.”

After announcing County staff had opted to postpone the public session on industrial hemp until a later date, board Chairman David Rogers agreed with Wheeler that the ordinance needed more work.

“It just isn’t ready,” Rogers said.

A number of local farmers as well as the Madera County Farm Bureau also reportedly had issues with the way the proposed ordinance had been written.

This week’s board agenda was relatively light, with no public hearings and the proposed new hemp ordinance the only “public session” item scheduled for supervisors to review.

When the hemp item was tabled, this week’s meeting ended after just 35 minutes, with all of the supervisors except Rogers participating in both closed and public sessions remotely because of social distancing guidelines.

 

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