Pubdate: Fri, 26 Feb 2016
Source: Mail Tribune, The (Medford, OR)
Copyright: 2016 The Mail Tribune
Note: Only prints LTEs from within it's circulation area, 200 word count limit
Author: Vickie Aldous

Medical Marijuana


A bill pending in the Oregon Legislature would bar medical marijuana 
grows on land zoned for rural residential use - a change that would 
be welcomed by neighbors upset over nearby grows but decried by 
people already growing medical marijuana in those zones in Jackson County.

A vote on Senate Bill 1598, which was in committee Thursday, could 
happen within the next several days as the Oregon Legislature pushes 
to wrap up this year's short session in early March.

"It could be adopted this weekend or early next week," said Jackson 
County Development Services Manager Kelly Madding.

Recreational marijuana grows already are banned on rural residential 
land by state law, said Madding, who briefed the Jackson County 
commissioners on the bill this week.

The issue of growing on land meant for quiet country living has been 
debated fiercely in Jackson County.

Commissioners have been moving toward requiring 75-foot buffers 
between medical marijuana grows and neighboring property on rural 
residential land.

If the state ban on medical marijuana grows on rural residential land 
passes, the buffers would become irrelevant.

During months of testimony, neighbors have complained about 
skunk-like odors from maturing marijuana plants, barking dogs, guns 
being fired, traffic and other problems associated with certain grows.

But medical marijuana growers have said they provide a medicine 
needed by patients, and most growers behave responsibly.

Commissioners met Thursday to continue work on Jackson County 
regulations for marijuana growing, processing and selling that would 
be in addition to state laws. They plan to continue discussions at 
1:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Jackson County Courthouse auditorium, 10 
S. Oakdale Ave., Medford.

Under draft regulations, marijuana could be grown on land zoned for 
exclusive farm use and forest use.

It could be grown indoors in industrial districts if processing is 
also done on site. A handful of outside growers already operating in 
industrial districts could be grandfathered in and allowed to stay 
until March 2019, after which they would have to comply with rules 
requiring indoor grows be accompanied by processing facilities.

Commissioner Doug Breidenthal said Thursday he doesn't want to see 
those existing outdoor growers put out of business without having 
time to transition, especially because the board hasn't received 
complaints about growing on industrial land.

"It's something contributing to the economy," said Breidenthal, who 
joined with Commissioner Rick Dyer on a preliminary vote to allow 
outdoor growers to remain temporarily.

Commissioner Colleen Roberts voted against making the special 
exception, saying the board should make a choice to either allow or 
ban outdoor grows on industrial land.

Final county regulations could be adopted as early as March 16.

The regulations would not apply to the four recreational marijuana 
plants or six medical marijuana plants state law allows people to 
grow for their own personal use.
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