Pubdate: Thu, 17 Mar 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


Ordinance Goes into Effect Immediately

After months of public meetings, the Jackson County Board of 
Commissioners on Wednesday adopted laws governing the growing, 
processing and selling of recreational and medical marijuana outside 
city limits.

The laws go into effect immediately.

Outdoor grows are not allowed within 250 feet of city limits.

Marijuana can be grown in exclusive farm use and forest zones.

New marijuana growing is allowed in industrial zones, as long as 
processing also takes place there. People who were already growing in 
industrial zones can continue to do so for three years, after which 
they have to become compliant with the new laws by adding processing 
or relocating.

Commissioners had planned on allowing medical marijuana grows on 
rural residential land with 75-foot buffers from neighboring 
property, but a new law passed by the Oregon Legislature this month 
effectively bans medical marijuana grows there, according to how 
county officials are interpreting the state law.

The Legislature designated medical marijuana growing a farm use, and 
Jackson County's Comprehensive Plan and land-use laws bar farm use on 
rural residential land. Recreational marijuana was already defined as 
a farm use and banned on rural residential land in the county.

"It was the intention of this board to allow continued production of 
medical marijuana on rural residential land," Commissioner Rick Dyer 
said. "The legislation very clearly established medical marijuana as 
a farm use. We had no choice. It was clear. The mandate was absolutely clear."

Rep. Peter Buckley, D-Ashland, said the intent of the state law was 
never to block medical marijuana grows on rural residential land. 
Legislators instead wanted to allow existing grows to continue, but 
to block new grows.

Buckley and state Sen. Alan Bates, D-Medford, accused county 
officials last week of misinterpreting the new state law.

Commissioner Doug Breidenthal said legislators rushed the state law 
through without taking time to study the impact in Jackson County.

County officials had publicly raised red flags about their 
interpretation of the law before it passed.

Dyer said Wednesday the Legislature's legislative counsel has 
apologized to the county about statements that Jackson County 
officials were misinterpreting the new state law.

Existing medical marijuana growers on rural residential land can 
apply for non-conforming-use status, which is available to property 
owners using their land in a way that becomes illegal under a new law.

Breidenthal asked for patience from growers and said county officials 
may carefully consider revisions to the county's Comprehensive Plan 
ban on farm use in rural residential zones.

Under other new regulations adopted Wednesday by the county, 
commissioners banned grow fencing made of temporary materials such as 
plastic sheeting, tarps and hay bales. State law requires grows to be 
screened from public view - which led plastic sheet fencing to 
proliferate throughout Jackson County.

Marijuana processing is limited to industrial and exclusive farm use 
zones in the county. Processing buildings must be equipped with odor 
filtration systems.

Medical marijuana dispensaries and recreational marijuana shops are 
not allowed within one mile of the Veterans Affairs' Southern Oregon 
Rehabilitation Center and Clinics, which provides drug and alcohol treatment.

Dispensaries and shops also must be at least 1,000 feet from parks, 
schools, other dispensaries and shops, I-5 interchanges and the 
Jackson County Transition Center for people in the criminal justice 
system. They are banned on property adjacent to residential zones.

The county regulations generally don't apply to the four recreational 
marijuana plants and six medical marijuana plants adults are allowed 
to grow for their own personal use under state law.

However, people in urban residential zones must grow their personal 
plants inside a home or building that is not a translucent greenhouse.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom