The San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors today will vote on whether to adopt new fees to cover the costs of enforcing regulations on growing industrial hemp.
Under the California Food and Agricultural Code (FAC), registered growers can grow industrial hemp, according to the fee proposal.
The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) will implement regulations on registration and renewal fees, while each county’s agricultural commis– sioner will oversee and enforce regulations on registration, cultivation, sampling, testing and abatement.
The FAC requires agricultural commissioners to collect state-imposed registration and renewal fees of $900. The commissioners can bill the state for direct costs related to registration and renewal of industrial hemp grows, the proposal said, but not for sampling, testing or enforcement.
The FAC also allows counties to establish reasonable fees to cover costs associated with implementation, administration and enforcement.
The proposed fees would cover the actual costs of the hourly rate for agricultural biologists and standards inspectors, mileage based on the current fees charged by the San Joaquin County Motor Pool and the costs of any special materials needed.
If the fees are not approved, the agricultural commissioner will not be able to recover costs of enforcement and will need additional funds from the county general fund.
If approved, there would be no increase to net county costs, the fees would be added to the agricultural commissioner’s fee schedule and the commissioner would start assessing the new fees July 1, 2019.
San Joaquin County Agricultural Commissioner Tim Pelican said on Monday that he did not have an estimate of how much revenue the fees might generate, as that amount would depend on how many people register as industrial hemp growers.
“We’ve had several people call and show interest,” Pelican said.
As the state has not yet published all of the regulations Pelican said the county will likely have to wait until the 45-day moratorium on growing industrial hemp — first adopted March 26 — expires later this month before hemp growers can apply to register.
“We’re waiting to see when the state regulatory package would be totally complete,” Pelican said.
The board will also consider adopting resolutions supporting BioPharm Holdings, LLC, a company that is “poised to fulfill a large multi-billion dollar contract with manufacturing and extraction of CBD extracts from cannabis and hemp products,” according to the recommendation.
BioPharm wants to keep its headquarters in San Joaquin County, and is expected to create more jobs with estimated annual sales of more than $100 million dollars.
The San Joaquin Board of Supervisors will consider these issues and more during their meeting at 9 a.m. today on the sixth floor of the San Joaquin County Administration Building, 44 N. San Joaquin St., Stockton.