While both cannabis and industrial hemp come from the same plant (Cannabis Sativa L), they are different in the eyes of the law due to how each is used and grown.
Current County of SLO regulations defines cannabis as any and all parts of the plant Cannabis indica, Cannabis ruderalis, or Cannabis sativa L (excluding plants which fall under the legal definition of industrial hemp) as outlined in the County Inland Ordinance and Coastal Ordinance. Cannabis is typically cultivated for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the substance most known for its physical and psychological effects.
Industrial hemp commonly refers to the industrial and commercial use of the cannabis stalk, fibers and seeds, according to Section 11018.5 of the Health and Safety Code. However, because of its low THC levels (to be legally considered industrial hemp, the plants must contain less than 0.3% THC), industrial hemp is not cultivated for psychoactive use.
Industrial hemp will generally be densely planted as a field or row crop. Pruning and tending of individual industrial hemp plants is prohibited. Industrial hemp will need to be tested prior to harvest to ensure it does not exceed THC limits. To learn more about industrial hemp limitations and laboratory testing, please refer to Section 81006 of the Food and Agricultural Code.