Judge rejects hemp grower’s attempt to halt SLO County restrictions


A group of San Luis Obispo County hemp growers lost their bid this week for a temporary injunction against the county’s restrictive hemp cultivation ordinance.

A mere three weeks after the SLO County Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance that put an end to, or seriously scaled back every hemp grow that operated in the county last year, the Coalition for Agricultural Rights filed a lawsuit against the county. In its lawsuit, the group asked the court to invalidate the ordinance and temporarily stop its enforcement while the case winds through the system.

The Board of Supervisor’s ordinance requires 400-acre sites, with 2,000-foot setbacks. Voicing concerns over smells, water usage, and failures of county staff to provide oversight, the Board of Supervisors passed the ordinance on May 5.

In their lawsuit, the group asserts that the county’s restrictions are actually a ban, and that the supervisors ignored public input.

“The Hemp Prohibition imposes undue and unnecessary restrictions on an already severely constrained agriculture industry in the County and sets a disturbing precedent for regulatory oversight of farmers’ crop choice and business decisions,” according to the lawsuit. “These actions threaten the ongoing viability of the agriculture industry within the County, which has served as a cornerstone of the County’s economy and community for decades.”

While the lawsuit refers to the ordinance as a ban on hemp, since its passage last month, the county approved hemp cultivation at four local farms.

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