San Jacinto industrial hemp moratorium remains in effect with urgency ordinance extended

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The San Jacinto City Council met Tuesday, March 17, with no one in the community center except Councilman Russ Utz, to approve the extension of a moratorium on further industrial hemp cultivation in the city.

The council, abiding by the Riverside County Medical Officers’ request to cancel all public meetings of more than 250 people to help contain the spread of the deadly COVID-19 disease, held the council meeting with Utz present and the remaining four council members teleconferencing.

The Brown Act, which requires the public to be physically present during any city government meeting, has been relaxed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom because of the COVID-19 social distancing recommendation. This allowance lets the public to enter into an official government teleconferencing call for a limited time. Only one resident chose to speak during the council’s teleconference in the regular public comment session.

The council, during a discussion and a second public hearing with department heads participating in the teleconference, decided to continue the interim urgency ordinance moratorium on more industrial hemp cultivation in the city. The extended ordinance does not prohibit the current registered industrial hemp producers in the city from planting and cultivating their in-season crops. The council is seeking more information on the industrial crop and its potential through ongoing research and assurance it won’t hide or mix with regular recreational cannabis.

The council approved California Choice Energy Authority entering into a long-term energy storage resource adequacy agreement with Black Walnut Energy Storage LLC on behalf of San Jacinto Power.

The Esplanade Widening project between Sanderson and Warren avenues was approved by council.

They adopted a resolution updating the city’s participation in the Transportation Uniform Mitigation Program and adopted the new schedule of construction costs.

Tony Ault can be reached by email at tault@reedermedia.com.