Leesville City Council members, along with members of the city’s planning commission and Mayor Rick Allen, will be touring a hemp production facility in Singer this week as they determine whether the council will hear a request to approve a similar facility within its own city limits.
Earlier this month, the planning and zoning commission heard a request from Kirkpatrick Ventures to develop a CBD raw materials (hemp) production facility within Leesville. The location for the potential facility has been identified as 2109 Nolan Trace, otherwise known as the location of the old Tower Trailer Park off of La. 8. The facility is proposed to be built in a central location within an open 40-acre tract of land.
According to city planner Grant Bush, the request was approved by the commission to be heard by the city council, however the item was not on Monday’s city council agenda and does not have an anticipated introduction date.
“At this time we are seeking information from the Department of Agriculture and other sources regarding this type of production facility before the council chooses whether to move forward with hearing the request,” Bush said.
Based upon state laws, a facility that produces the raw CBD materials is considered legal so long as the product manufactured contains .3 percent or less amounts of THC. Bush said the proposed facility would not be producing CBD at the Leesville location, but would instead be transporting the materials to another CBD manufacturing location outside of Vernon Parish.
So far, 70 permits for such a facility have been issued by the state of Louisiana, and only two sites have been permitted to produce medical marijuana — LSU and Southern University.
Since first hearing the request, some residents have voiced strong opposition to the proposed facility’s location. With residential properties located on the east and west sides of the potential site, residents have raised questions as to how the hemp production may impact the environment and their right to quiet enjoyment of their own properties.
“We have received some negative responses, mostly from those who live to the west side of the proposed location. Those residents have brought concerns of the smells that the facility might create and those are things that the city is taking into consideration when we go to visit the Singer facility,” Bush said.
It is unclear as of now when the request could be heard by the city. If council members and the mayor approve hearing the request, it could take weeks to have the item placed on a council meeting agenda for introduction, at which point it would then be assigned a public hearing date before the council could vote on the matter.
While it was previously outlawed by state agencies, hemp cultivation has become a booming agriculture business in some states over the past year.
Industrial hemp is said to be used in a variety of commercial and consumer products, being marketed as both a fiber, a seed, or a dual-purpose crop.
Some estimates show that the industrial hemp market could near billions in the coming years.