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Josephine County to host hemp symposium

Josephine County is bringing together growers, business leaders, citizens and government officials to talk about the effects of the burgeoning hemp industry.

Hemp, marijuana’s non-intoxicating cousin, has popped up on land throughout Southern Oregon after the 2018 federal Farm Bill relaxed restrictions on growing the plant.

Hemp is used for a variety of products, from clothing to medical products that can ease conditions from chronic pain to epileptic seizures.

The hemp symposium starts at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Josephine County Fairgrounds Floral Building, 1451 Fairgrounds Road, Grants Pass.

The free event will feature presentations from various government agencies and serve as a networking and educational opportunity for those interested in or affected by the hemp industry.

“We are planning this event to start the conversation regarding the effect of the hemp industry on our community,” said Josephine County Commissioner Darin Fowler. “Several local and state agencies will present information. We are giving them this opportunity to explain their jurisdictions and plans for enforcement.”

Fowler said he hopes for a broad turnout for the event.

Jackson County has the most hemp grows of the 36 counties in Oregon at 8,579 acres.

Josephine County is second at 4,328 acres, followed by Harney County at 4,200 acres, based on statistics from the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

Scheduled speakers for the symposium include Sunny Summers, cannabis policy coordinator with the Oregon Department of Agriculture; Jake Johnstone, Southwest region manager with the Oregon Water Resources Department; and Bill Meyers, Rogue Basin coordinator with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, Pacific Power, Josephine County Community Development and the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office will also send representatives to the symposium.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or valdous@rosebudmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @VickieAldous.

A large hemp field growing in Southern Oregon.{ }Jamie Lusch / Mail Tribune