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City of Medford considers hemp grow ban

Growing hemp within the city limits of Medford might soon be banned, adding to the current ban on growing recreational cannabis.

Medford City Council on Thursday night reviewed possible code changes that address the city’s concerns over hemp, the cousin of cannabis that doesn’t get you high. The council also looked at where hemp processing facilities might be located, most likely in areas zoned industrial or heavy commercial.

“We don’t want another situation like what’s happening at Oak Grove Elementary,” said Kevin Stine, Medford City Council president.

The city currently doesn’t have any hemp grows inside city limits, though there are plenty of hemp grow sites just outside the city, including one just to the west of Oak Grove Elementary.

The city doesn’t have any language in its ordinance that restricts hemp production or processing, though the city passed a number of ordinances from 2015 to 2018 related to marijuana, with councilors expressing concern about the impact on neighbors, particularly because of the flower’s strong odor.

When the smoke cleared over cannabis regulation in Medford, Jackson County saw a massive influx of hemp grows, surpassing the acreage of pears and grapes combined.

Stine said the City Council and the Planning Commission will both hash out changes to the city ordinance to deal with hemp.

He said there’s still some question about whether the council might want to ban indoor hemp grows, though the city has quite a few indoor cannabis grows.

He said there was general agreement among councilors not to allow outdoor hemp grows inside the city limits.

“Even though there are no outdoor hemp grows, it might be prudent to continue doing that,” he said.

There are a number of processing facilities inside the city where cannabidiol — aka CBD — is extracted and processed from hemp plants. CBD is widely sold in many stores, including Fred Meyer.

By law hemp must have an average concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol, the intoxicating component in marijuana, that doesn’t exceed 0.3%.

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