By Cherise Kaechele

The Observer

A hemp seed and processing farm has been requested via a conditional use permit from the Union County Planning Department.

Hemp is a legal plant, closely related to marijuana. Hemp fiber is extracted from the stem and used to make oil, clothing, food and other products. Hemp and marijuana are members of the cannabis family, and both plants contain tetrahydrocannabinol, a crystalline compound that in high doses has a psychoactive effect. Hemp has less than 0.3 percent THC, whereas marijuana has a THC content of 5 percent to 35 percent. The products created with hemp are completely legal.

In the Feb. 6 Union County Commissioner meeting, Planning Director Scott Hartell said hemp production is regulated through the Oregon Department of Agriculture, which requires growers to register for growing and harvesting, according to the meeting minutes.

Randy and Rona Lindsey submitted an application to establish a 10- to 16-acre hemp farm in Union County. The Lindseys own Hwy. 30 Cannabis, a medical marijuana facility in La Grande.

In the commissioners’ meeting, Hartell told the board the county has existing hemp growers and has received an application for the seed handling and processing of seed and oil sales. Industrial use processing in Union County requires a CUP when it comes to farm use, which is reviewed by the Planning Commission.

See complete story in Wednesday's Observer