Carson City Planning Commission backs hemp growing in some areas

The Planning Commission is recommending Carson City allow the cultivation of hemp outdoors on land zoned agricultural and conservation reserve and indoors in industrial areas.

The commission voted Wednesday to recommend an ordinance to the Board of Supervisors that would permit hemp growing in limited industrial, general industrial and general airport industrial zones inside buildings with odor controls in much the same way marijuana is grown and on agricultural land and conservation reserve, which allows farming use.

“Conservation reserves may not be a viable place, but if ag is allowed in conservation reserve who are we to say which crops can be grown?” said Commissioner Paul Esswein.

Hemp comes from the same plant as marijuana but must contain less than .3 percent of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana. It is permitted and regulated by the state of Nevada and is allowed in agricultural zones like other crops.

In May, the board placed a moratorium on applications to grow the crop while the city decided how to deal with it.

The city is also in the middle of a court case involving Tahoe Hemp LLC, which wants to grow hemp on city open space land on part of the former Buzzy’s Ranch and filed suit when the city wouldn’t authorize it.

The draft ordinance would not allow hemp cultivation on city-owned open space, but it wouldn’t affect the case at hand. When the city purchased the Buzzy’s Ranch property in 2010, it entered into an agreement with the former owners that allows them to use or lease the land for agricultural purposes.

The proposed ordinance is expected to go before the board at its Sept. 17 meeting.

Multiple items were pulled from the commission’s meeting, including three items to amend an already approved residential project on Emerson Drive and two items to add generators to two municipal well sites.

A couple special use permits were approved, one for a storage unit at the Multipurpose Athletic Center and another to expand an 11-unit multifamily building on North Carson Street to 12 units by subdividing one apartment.


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