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County Commission Holding Marijuana Hearing

People invited to share their thoughts on the County's new rules, ahead of LUBA review

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The Deschutes County Commission is holding a hearing Wednesday morning, allowing the public to weigh in on its changes to rules on marijuana in the county.

The Board of Commissioners voted in favor of adopting its new, stricter rules in October 2018. But in February, they'd withdrawn from adopting the new ordinance after a local law firm filed an appeal to the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals.

Now the Board of County Commissioners plans to hold a public hearing on July 3 for a reconsideration of the marijuana text amendments.



Deschutes County regulations require growers to grow marijuana indoors, along with a number of other regulations that some say are the strictest in the state. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Deschutes County regulations require growers to grow marijuana indoors, along with a number of other regulations that some say are the strictest in the state.
“After reviewing the petition that was filed with LUBA, our legal counsel recommended that we withdraw our revised regulations. Opponents raised substantive legal issues for the first time on appeal that have not been presented to us at the local level,” said Deschutes County Chair Phil Henderson in a press release. “We feel that since these decisions that impact Deschutes County residents, the Board wants the first chance at reviewing and developing a complete record before it goes to LUBA.”

As the Source reported last October, some of the proposed rules included changes to indoor lighting requirements, consent to for the county to randomly inspect the growing premises up to three times a year for up-to-code "odor control systems" and a quarter-mile separation between approved marijuana production sites and local governments that opted out of recreational marijuana use.

Deschutes County is already viewed as having some of the toughest laws regarding marijuana production in all of Oregon, so not everyone involved was thrilled with these regulations.

"We're already the strictest regulations in the state of Oregon. I think we're sitting on the borderline of actually getting pushback if we try to expand those regulations," said former County Commission candidate James Cook in a 2018 debate. "Quite frankly, I don't think the board is going to accept all those expansions; they've basically thrown out basically everything that's under consideration. But I think if we did go with all of them, we'd either lose our right to regulate at the state level or we're going to be spending a lot of time at the Land Use Board of Appeals or in the courts. And I'd rather not spend my first two or three or four years as a commissioner trying to walk back some of the overreach that might happen."

Wednesday will give people to express what they think the assessment could improve on and what might be good for the county.

Read the updated changes to the assessment without markups here.

The hearing begins at 10am Wed., July 3 in the Barnes and Sawyer room at the Deschutes Services Center, located at 1300 NW Wall St. in Bend. 

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