The Board of Supervisors on Thursday decided to allow hemp growing inside buildings in industrial zones but not on Carson City’s agricultural land.
Hemp is now a legal crop in Nevada and in May the board put a moratorium on applications to grow it while the city decided where it would allow cultivation.
The Planning Commission recommended the supervisors allow it to be grown outdoors on land zoned agriculture and conservation reserve and indoors on property zoned Limited Industrial, General Industrial, and General Industrial Airport.
“Carson City is different. We don’t have agriculture in the hinterlands, 50 to 60 acres of rolling ag land,” said Mayor-elect Lori Bagwell. “We are pretty constrained here.”
Much of Carson City’s agricultural land has been sold off in pieces for residential development so what remains is usually surrounded by housing developments.
Bagwell and other supervisors who had visited hemp growing operations agreed it produces a pervasive skunk-like odor.
“I toured western Colorado where it is allowed outdoors and there is thousands of acres under cultivation,” said Acting Mayor Brad Bonkowski. “You cannot get away from the odor. It is a public nuisance.”
The board did discuss whether to allow hemp cultivation by right or by special use permit in the industrial zones. Supervisor John Barrette said he would prefer a special use permit, which must be approved by the Planning Commission in a public process.
But, the supervisors decided to include it in permitted uses and if any business violated regulations the remedy would be for the board to revoke its business license.
Hemp cultivators will have to follow the same rules as marijuana growers, which includes odor controls on the process.
The new ordinance will be heard again at the board’s next meeting and not become code until read and passed a second