65°F
weather icon Clear

Pahrump hemp farm new to local landscape

Hemp has come to Pahrump. Dan Harris, a local farmer, is growing a small 10-acre hemp field in Pahrump, which according to the state is perfectly legal.

What is unusual about the field is its location, which is between two public schools, Rosemary Clarke Middle School and Manse Elementary school, but this is all legal too because hemp, unlike its cousin marijuana, can’t get you high.

Perfectly legal near a school

Since the plant can’t get a person high, there are no restrictions on where it can be grown. This means growing it near a school is perfectly legal.

In addition to being able to grow hemp legally, there aren’t any restrictions or special security requirements for growers according to Russell Wilhelm, industrial hemp program manager for the Nevada Department of Agriculture.

“It’s all up to the producer to maintain their own security source,” Wilhelm said. “There are also no regulations dictating where industrial hemp may be grown, as long as the producer owns the land. All approved hemp producers in Nevada are reporting to the NDA on the status of their hemp research and development projects.”

In a story published in the Pahrump Valley Times on Aug. 11, Harris didn’t see any danger in leaving the crop unsecured, though he put fencing up to keep animals out.

“There’s no reason for anyone to be out here,” Harris said. “There’s no value to the crop for anything other than what we’re going to use it for.”

Hemp, although similar, does not have the characteristics of marijuana, being able to get you high.

According to the state of Nevada, the hemp must also not contain more than 0.3 percent THC, or it will have to be destroyed.

Parents should feel safe about hemp

Certified pharmacist Justin Curnutt of Back to Roots in Pahrump said parents should feel perfectly safe about their kids attending school near a hemp field.

“When it comes to hemp, truly the kids are absolutely safe,” he said. “Parents should bring it down a few decibels. I was skeptical at one time, being a pharmacist. I was trained as a medical professional, and in that training I heard that marijuana was bad all the time. “

This all changed in his last year of schooling, when he wrote a paper on cannabis. The topic was alternative healing.

“I found that CBD (Cannabidiol) molecules, which is what hemp is, and CBD are synonymous. So if you hear hemp, you can think CBD. This molecule is found in mother’s breast milk. So it’s almost identical. We all produce CBD in our body. What it does is it boosts our immune system. It is anti-cancer, fungal, bacterial … It is anti everything. It also helps us with anxiety, depression and PTSD. There is some kind of PTSD associated with birth, hence the reason it is in breast milk.”

Curnutt said hemp has been grown legally before in the United States.

“Back in the 1940s a hemp field went up in flames right next to a town and no one got high in the town,” he said.

Superintendent’s thoughts

Nye County School District Superintendent Dale Norton said this matter was out of his hands and also that he was not alarmed.

“The field is a hemp field and it is a legal business. They put fences around it, and they are responsible if anything happens to it. If they have issues with it then that falls on them. They have to be wary that kids are around the field and so if issues arise, they have to deal with it.

Some parents voice displeasure

Despite hemp being so safe, there were a few parents and one resident who felt that hemp was still a danger.

Parents interviewed in front of Manse Elementary School had mixed reactions when asked how they felt about the hemp field being there.

Brian Nave, a Manse Elementary parent, said he had a problem with it.

“The end of last year it was empty (the field). Personally, I do have a problem with it. It shouldn’t be around children. The kids should know about it but it is not something they should be concerned with at that age. Even though it is hemp, it is still marijuana. It is still something that shouldn’t be around them.”

Richard Swingle, another parent at the school, also had a problem with the field being so close to a school.

“Of course I have a problem with it being there,” Swingle said. “Being that close to an elementary school, I am not saying that kids will be able to get their hands on it. Being a father, it is just something you don’t want around them. I had no idea what they were doing there and I live right off of Jarvis. I had no idea that this was happening. I don’t think any of the parents here know about this.

A resident who lives across the street from the hemp field, Tom Zachary, was also concerned about the field.

“I understand people need it for health reasons,” Zachary said. “I don’t like to see it. Maybe if they had it somewhere else where people don’t see it as much, I wouldn’t mind it so much. But it’s right next to the school. It’s a moneymaker for them. I doubt if anyone would try to steal it. I think it is an opportunity for a farmer to make some money and I don’t think it is beneficial to people. I wish they had grown vegetables.”

Others’ reactions: no problem

Tricia McGuire, a parent at Manse, said she had no problem with the field being next to the school.

“I honestly didn’t know about it because I just moved into this neighborhood,” she said. “It is legal and as long as you teach your kids. Look, we live in a county that has legalized prostitution. I choose to live in this county. Honestly, I don’t have a problem with it. I understand both sides. I don’t think there is anything wrong with it.”

Jennifer Camp also had no problem with the hemp field being there.

“I wasn’t aware of the hemp field being there,” she said. “Do the kids know it’s there? I didn’t know. As long as the kids don’t know about it, I think it’s OK. But I don’t think I have that big of a problem with it as long as the kids don’t try to go and smoke it. I don’t think is it is a major problem, but if the kids go and try to steal it, that’s different.”

Contact sports editor Vern Hee at vhee@pvtimes.com

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Nye County approves jail bond refi

With interest rates in America so low and Nye County finally free from a bond clause that prevented it from doing so, earlier this year the county began the process necessary to refinance the bond that had been taken out to fund the construction of the Nye County Detention Center in Pahrump.

Serenity Health issues apology to Pahrump community

After nearly eight full months of providing COVID-19 testing to the local community without any reported problems, officials with Serenity Health have issued a formal apology to the community following a vexing night in which the health care provider ran out of testing materials and area residents who had been waiting in line were told they would not be able to receive a test that evening.

A more thankful, less stressful holiday

In a year that’s already proven “interesting,” Thanksgiving will be no exception. Lots of folks are hosting smaller gatherings, meaning fewer people to bring dishes or help in the kitchen. Some may be making their very first Thanksgiving dinner. To assist in making this a low-stress, enjoyable holiday for all, I offer a few tips.

$500k in chip sealing set for Pahrump roadways

In August of this year, Nye County commissioners gave the green light to resurrect the county’s long-dormant chip sealing program and with approval of a list of selected roads granted and the construction contract officially awarded, the 2020 Chip Seal Program is now ready to roll.

Local man facing child sex charges

A Pahrump man was arrested this month over allegations surrounding child pornography.

Pahrump Gunfighters forced to cancel show

For many years the Pahrump Gunfighters have entertained and thrilled the local community with their Old West shows and skits at Dusty Flats on West Stagecoach Road.

Kellogg Park concrete contract awarded

What once was bare land covered in nothing more than sparse desert vegetation is slowly but surely giving way to what will one day be the town of Pahrump’s fifth park, Kellogg Park.

Walmart more than doubles number of personal shoppers

Saying that more than ever the company knows how important it will be for customers to use time-saving services such as pickup and delivery, Walmart has more than doubled the number of personal shoppers versus last year.

Nevada flu vaccination data dashboard launched

Nevada’s influenza vaccination data dashboard is now live providing weekly updates of information from Nevada WebIZ, Nevada’s Immunization Information System. This new tool will help Nevada’s fight against influenza, a critical step in the fight against COVID-19.

BLM postpones wild horse gather at Fish Creek HMA

The Bureau of Land Management Mount Lewis Field Office is postponing the 2020 Fish Creek wild horse gather to later this year or early 2021 because of operational concerns with COVID-19 related to this particular gather.