The Carson City Board of Supervisors rejected a $400,000 settlement offer from Tahoe Hemp LLC, which had sued the city for allegedly breaking a contract to grow industrial hemp on Buzzy’s Ranch by a majority vote. Following mediation, Tahoe Hemp proposed a settlement amount of $400,000.
The Jarrard Family Trust gave Buzzy’s Ranch to the city on the express condition that areas of the valley might be used for agricultural operations. Still, the city prevented Tahoe Hemp from cultivating hemp, prompting the company to suit for $15 million in 2020. The trust contracted with Tahoe Hemp to cultivate hemp on the ranch, but the city forbade this use of ranch land.
Prosecutor Jason Woodbury advised the Board to turn down the offer. During public comment, Tahoe Hemp spokesman Rick Campbell stated that the company had lost more than $28 million in its first year in business.
According to Campbell, the ruling against Tahoe Hemp was issued because it was believed that the cultivation of hemp would result in the accumulation of trash on the land. Campbell said there was no evidence in the paperwork to back up the claim that the property would generate trash.
“Staff acted too hastily in denying this permit.” According to Robert Lopez, a co-owner of Tahoe Hemp, Hemp production is a “cleansing agricultural crop,” meaning that its cultivation removes contaminants from the soil and benefits subsequent crop production.
Lopez explained that during the tour, the parties involved agreed to a bond in which a specified sum of money would be utilized to restore the land following its use. The agreement was made in advance, then.
The city informed Tahoe Hemp that growing hemp there could be in violation of a grant the city received to purchase the land. Hence Tahoe Hemp’s requests to cultivate there were ultimately denied. Campbell said that while accepting the $400,000 settlement would be a significant concession for Tahoe Hemp, rejecting the proposal and risking a reversal by the Nevada Supreme Court was a greater gamble for the city.
The Board rejected the settlement offer without discussion.