Will a Lapse in the County’s Hemp Moratorium Inadvertently Open the Floodgates for Industrial Cultivation?

SoHum cannabis farmer Mark Switzer plans to arrive at the Humboldt County Agriculture Center Monday morning to register as a hemp farmer, and he expects to be joined by at least a few others. 

These farmers say that after the county’s 45-day moratorium on hemp cultivation expires at the end of Friday, Agricultural Commissioner Jeff Dolf will be legally obligated to give them what they’re after.


Patrick Goggin is a San Francisco attorney who’s been fighting to legalize hemp for 15 years, and he recently told the Orange County Register that the law is clear:

After lengthy delays, California regulations enacted on April 30 say that if farmers meet all of the criteria, complete applications, and pay their fees, agricultural commissioners “shall” register them to legally grow hemp.

“It’s a right,” Goggin said. “There is no discretion.”

Yet most counties in the state aren’t accepting hemp registration forms, either because they’re waiting on more information from the state or they’ve enacted moratoriums. Goggin told the Register that counties refusing to accept registrations without a temporary ban are putting themselves in a legally precarious position.

But when contacted by the Outpost, Goggin said he’s skeptical that a one-day lapse in our local moratorium would put Humboldt County in legal jeopardy. 

“That window is not enough time for [county staff] to process and issue the registrations,” Goggin said. Dolf said at Tuesday’s meeting that it would take about two weeks to process any registrations.