EL CENTRO — The Imperial County Board of Supervisors approved the adoption of the Imperial County Industrial Hemp Transportation Policy, Tuesday, September 17. The voluntary program gives local industrial hemp growers the opportunity to transport their product outside of Imperial County.
Agencies involved include the Ag Commissioner’s Office, County CEO’s Office, Sheriff’s Office, and the Border Patrol. The agencies will work together to ensure the safe and legal transportation of industrial hemp, according to Assistant Agricultural Commissioner Jolene Dessert.
Local commercial growers are required to register with the Ag Commissioner’s office, post their fields, and submit pre- and post-harvest reports. The transportation policy requires yield and destination information. If growers choose to participate in the transportation policy, they will be billed by the Ag Commissioner’s office and Sheriff’s office for their part in transporting the hemp, according to Dessert.
Local growers of industrial hemp for research are required to post their fields and submit GPS coordinates to the Ag Commissioner’s office. For those growers to participate in the transportation policy, they must have their fields inspected by the Ag commissioner, submit pre- and post-harvest reports, and provide yield and destination information.
According to Officer Scott Shepherd with the Imperial County Sheriff’s Office, there are still issues that are a concern. The policy is a living document that will continue to change to make room for potential issues.
“Exactly how we’re going to do this to ensure that the product being transported is in fact hemp hasn’t been completely worked out. There’s just no absolutes to what we’re doing. The safety of our Ag Commissioner inspectors is paramount. Anything that we can do to make our community safer and the employees in this industry and the county employees safer, we’re going to be involved in any of those processes,” said Shepherd.
Agent Daniel Hann with the U.S. Border Patrol explained his concern with making sure the product being moved is hemp. He explained that his dogs can sniff out drugs, but they can’t determine what the drug is or what THC levels are.
“Your county and your board are leading the nation in how we’re going to deal with this, because it’s really a border issue. We’re not exactly sure how it’s going to play out. Our only concern is that the product that hits our checkpoints is a legal product and there isn’t cannabis mixed in it or something else illegal,” said Hann.