Hemp grower sues Carson City over proposed cannabis farm


CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — A local hemp grower is suing Carson City for trying to block a cannabis farm on about 100 acres (40 hectares) of rural property owned by the city.

The Reno Gazette Journal reports Tahoe Hemp LLC filed a lawsuit in state court Jan. 15 accusing the city of acting in bad faith by breaching a contract with the property’s former owner.

The Carson City Board of Supervisors voted Jan. 16 to authorize the district attorney to take legal action if necessary against Tahoe Hemp, according to the Nevada Appeal.

The board said some of the open space was purchased by the city in 2010 partly with money obtained under a state land grant that prohibits any use of the land other than ranching or preserving open space, cultural or wildlife resources.

Tahoe Hemp wants to grow its crop on a portion of the former Buzzys Ranch, a popular public hiking and outdoor recreation area adjacent to the Carson River, according to the Gazette Journal.

Tahoe Hemp is seeking up to $15 million in damages and lawyer fees. It argues the previous owner of the property, Jarrard Trust, maintained agricultural rights on the 370 acres (150 hectares) when the city purchased it nearly 10 years ago.

Last year, Jarrard Trust signed a leasing agreement with Tahoe Hemp, which applied with the state agriculture department to grow hemp on 100 acres (40 hectares) of the property, according to the lawsuit.

The state agriculture department requested authorization from Carson City to move forward with a permit to cultivate on the property, but instead the city sent the grower a cease and desist order in November.

The state could force the city to give up the property, return its funding if hemp were grown on the property, or both, according to city officials.

“It’s not any sort of anti-marijuana or anti-hemp position that’s driving our response. It’s purely about what is legally allowed by the assurances given to the state,” Carson City District Attorney Jason Woodbury told the Gazette Journal. “Our understanding is that hemp is legally prohibited on the property.”

Tahoe Hemp argues that under the existing agricultural rights, it should be allowed to grow hemp, which is derived from the cannabis plant.

The primary difference between marijuana and hemp is that marijuana has a significantly higher content of THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis. A hemp plant cannot get a person high because of its low THC levels. Hemp is often used instead to create commercial fibers and CBD extracts.