What is hemp?
  • Hemp Field: The hemp and marijuana plant are both members of the plant species Cannabis Sativa L.  Genetic differences produce certain compounds, like Cannabinol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in varying levels.  By law, hemp must have less than 0.3% THC.  THC is the chemical compound known to produce psychoactive effects or “high” feeling. 
  • Hemp plants can be used to produce a number of commodities including fiber, seed, seed oil, and textiles.  The vast majority of hemp grown in Southern Oregon is used to produce a smokeable flower product, or hemp derived CBD products made from a process of separating the oils (extracts) from the plant material.
  • Oregon State University recently launched a comprehensive hemp research center and we encourage you to visit their website by visiting https://extension.oregonstate.edu/crop-production/hemp.

How did hemp become a legal crop?
  • The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, also known as the 2018 Farm Bill, removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, expanded the definitions from the previous 2014 Farm Bill, and also deemed hemp an agricultural crop. It further requires the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to implement regulations and create a program to oversee commercial hemp in the United States.  However, the bill allows states and tribes to submit plans to be the primary regulatory authority over hemp production in their state or tribal territory.
  • In Oregon, the Department of Agriculture has jurisdiction over the production and handling of hemp. The Department administers the States’ Hemp Program and ensures businesses with registrations are complying with state and federal regulations.
  • The Oregon Department of Agriculture is the only regulatory authority that oversees registration, testing, and enforcement of THC level requirements.

Hemp in Jackson County:hemp
  • In Jackson County, hemp can be produced as an out-right permitted use on resource zoned properties. Other hemp related activities such as drying, storage and processing may be allowed based on current land use code, and property zoning.  Contact Jackson County Development Services prior to engaging in any of these uses.
  • Because hemp has been deemed an agricultural product, it is protected by Oregon’s Right to Farm laws. In Addition, local jurisdictions like Jackson County, have not been granted time, manner, place authority to enact local regulations specific to the production of hemp. 
  • Many farming practices currently employed by hemp farmers are consistent with standard farming practices and are generally protected under the Right to Farm laws. Impacts on neighboring properties for issues such as dust associated with working of the ground, noise from farm equipment, the use of plastic weed barriers and irrigation drip lines are all standard farming practices.
  • The odor emitted from hemp plants and farms is not regulated or enforceable.
  • Additional information and FAQ’s about hemp in Jackson County can be found here: Hemp in Jackson County – FAQ

State of Oregon Hemp Program
Oregon Department of Agriculture

Water Usage, including wells, ground and surface water

Jackson County Watermaster

Water Quality Affected by the Development of Hemp Farms

Department of Environmental Quality – Water Quality Division