Oregon won’t issue any new licenses to grow hemp until March of next year at the earliest, the state’s agriculture department announced this week.
The agency also notified the 11 hemp growers with licenses that they won’t be allowed to expand their grow operations or add new farms to their existing permits, according to the Bend Bulletin.
That throws the future of those hemp operations into question, since some aren’t sure whether or not they’re allowed by state law to cultivate indoors during the winter, the paper reported.
To date, only nine of the 11 cultivators with licenses have begun sowing hemp.
The moratorium came about after the Department of Agriculture was criticized for how it instituted the hemp cultivation program. Agency heads decided they needed more time to sort out how to properly balance rules for hemp and marijuana cultivation, especially those pertaining to outdoor growing.
Oregon has a thriving outdoor marijuana cultivation industry, to the point where some local governments have either instituted or are considering bans on outdoor grows.
Lindsey Eng, head of Oregon’s agriculture department, told the Bulletin she doesn’t think the moratorium will have a serious impact on those seeking licenses, because new growers likely wouldn’t begin planting until the spring anyway. Eng added that the state hopes to start issuing new licenses again before the next growing season.