County approves hemp drying operation
Packaged, sealed and labeled, the packaged hemp will then be loaded onto 20,000 pound trucks and transported to another facility.
The site was originally developed with a winery that produced bulk wine before being converted into a fish farm for raising fish using the old wine facilities. The site became a mushroom farm in the 1990s and is currently used for the shelling and storage of pistachios, as well as for the storage of metal barrels and the processing of blueberry juice. The special use permit for the industrial hemp silos at the site passed 5-0 by the Tulare County Planning Commission.
Tulare County passed an industrial hemp ordinance in April 2020 and lifted the moratorium on industrial hemp cultivation. The industry is relatively new to the county and permits can now be obtained for hemp cultivation, seed breeding, agricultural research and processing.
Both hemp and marijuana are cannabis plants, but the way they are grown and used differ significantly. Industrial hemp plants – tall stems and lean leaves concentrated mostly at the top – are grown in a variety of climates closely together in multi-acre lots. Marijuana is broadleaf and bushy, and is grown in a highly controlled climate to grow flowers or buds with tiny hairs and crystals containing large amounts of THC. Industrial hemp is typically used for the stem and seeds of the plant, which contain less than 0.3% THC, while marijuana refers to the flower of the cannabis plant.
A common use of industrial hemp is hemp fiber board, touted as a greener alternative to wood products. Hemp board can be used in furniture, shelving, flooring and is often used in doors for insulation.