Arvin Looks to Capitalize on Hemp

The City of Arvin could soon allow certain individuals to grow hemp that exceeds the federal limit—and it’s all thanks to a cannabis raid that prompted a lawsuit against Kern County.

After the Kern County Sheriff’s Office destroyed 459 acres of hemp plants near Arvin they said was actually $1 billion worth of marijuana, city officials took note. They got to work writing an ordinance that would allow for the type of activity present on the farmland the Sheriff’s Office raided in October. The ordinance will be presented before the city’s planning commission on Monday and is recommended for approval by the city council the next day.

Thirty days after the second reading of the council’s vote, the ordinance could come into effect. The city says it has already received interest from growers in the hemp industry, including Apothio LLC, the researcher who operated the farmland near Arvin that was raided. —

City officials have confirmed that the Arvin raid pushed them in this direction.

“When the county came in and (raided Apothio), we did look at that as an opportunity,” said Administrative Services Director Pawan Gill. “We’re small, we’re out there, we’re not off the 99 and we don’t have a lot of the things that other cities can offer an industry. So hemp is a unique opportunity for us as an economic development tool to really be able to attract an industry.”

Under the ordinance, Arvin would enter into development agreements with researchers, allowing them to cultivate hemp in the city. Arvin would be entitled to a percentage of their profits.