Hemp farming in California plagued by roadblocks

Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed a bill in California that could promote the growth of industrial hemp farming, but the nascent industry is still at the mercy of what it perceives as a slow-moving state bureaucracy.

Senate Bill 1409 authorized the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to carry out agricultural hemp pilot programs under Section 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill, the legislation signed by former President Barack Obama.

“We’ve asked the department in the past to get going with a pilot program, so we can be federally compliant as a state,” said Patrick Goggin, a San Francisco-based senior attorney at Hoban Law Group. “They kind of pushed back, saying, ‘Well, we don’t have that authority.’”