Kenaf in California Registration and Local Authorities

by John Henry Wells
(California, USA)


I wanted to give you an update on my run in with the County Sheriff's Office about my kenaf crop. Since I was not on site when the search warrant was served, I contacted the lead officer earlier this week. I took the contact as an educational effort. Here is a summary:
I spelled kenaf for them.
I gave background that the plant was related to hibiscus.
I noted that there were no THC or cannabinoid compounds.
I indicated that I was growing the crop for fiber and hoped to make construction blocks and pavers from the material - kenafcrete.
I indicated that the crop was not fully matured and that I anticipated it would grow for an additional three months until our first frost.
There were questions about why I had not registered the crop, to which I indicated that there was no standing in local regulation for the regulation of kenaf and indicated my registration would have been rejected.
I summarized the past research publications of kenaf research in California.
I presented my growing kenaf as a research initiative that could be an economic benefit to the region.
The officer recognized that my kenaf was neither marijuana nor industrial help - it was just something unfamiliar.
The team had not seen kenaf before, but outlined some of the county-wide situations they have encountered with legal (and illegal) hemp.
I fully understand the concerns raised by law enforcement about growers of industrial hemp and potential abuse of growing this regulated crop. The discussion was cordial and the officer sincerely appreciated that I was fully cooperating. The officer clearly knew this all was over his level and indicated he would review the case with his lieutenant for an administrative decision. He called me back 10 minutes later and indicated that he would be completing a report and that no further action would be taken. I affirmed that the report would indicate that I could grow the plants to maturity. And there was a courtesy request that I coordinate with the team when planting the crop next year.

As a humorous aside, the officer was glad that his team did not have to remove the plants, in part because they did not have a big enough truck!

Thank you again for encouraging me to walk through this situation as a teachable moment.

Best Regards,

John Henry Wells
"Kenaf Grower - Merced County, California"

P.S. My plan for harvest is to cut down the stalks in October or November, allow the plants to dry out, strip the stalks of branches and leaves, and chip the stalks for short fiber and hurd. I then hope to test various kenafcrete formulations, making trial pavers to be tested over winter and spring for durability. We have been intrigued with the notion of growing a fiber crop (industrial hemp) for the purpose of developing a carbon negative building material. This is now our aim with kenaf. - JHW

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to What's New!.