County lifts prohibition on marijuana-related business in rural Deschutes County

With reasonable regulations in place, the Deschutes County Board of Commissioners lifted the prohibition on marijuana-related business in rural Deschutes County. Beginning Sept. 1, the County will accept land-use applications to allow and regulate the following:

  • Medical and recreational marijuana production
  • Medical and recreational marijuana processing
  • Medical marijuana dispensaries
  • Recreational marijuana wholesale
  • Recreational marijuana retail

“I think we have a good set of regulations and are ready to address this issue,” said Deschutes County Chair Alan Unger. “We deeply appreciate the time and energy that our planning commissioners, marijuana advisory committee members and so many county residents have invested in an effort to help us create an atmosphere where we are protecting our rural quality of life but still allowing for opportunity.”

The County’s planning division will host workshops to provide potential applicants and interested parties an overview of the local marijuana regulations, which were adopted in June. Staff will also provide information about application fees and an overview of the county’s procedures for processing land use applications.

Workshops will be held:

  • Aug. 23, 3 – 5 p.m., 1300 NW Wall Street, Bend (Barnes & Sawyer Rooms)
  • Aug. 23, 6 – 8 p.m., 1300 NW Wall Street, Bend (Barnes & Sawyer Rooms)

The board’s work to address marijuana land use began in April 2015. Since that time, six public hearings have been held so that the community could provide feedback on proposed regulations.

  • In November, the County’s planning commission deliberated on proposed regulations and forwarded a package of recommendations to the board.
  • In December, the board temporarily voted to opt-out of marijuana-related business in unincorporated areas of the County, expressing a desire to have more time to evaluate the impact of proposed regulations.
  • In early February, the board appointed 13 citizens to its Marijuana Advisory Committee (MAC), asking them to recommend reasonable regulations to address the impacts of both medical and recreational marijuana land uses (such as sight, sound and smell).
  • In April, the board reviewed the MAC’s recommendations and then, a month later, unanimously agreed on a framework to address impacts associated with the growing, processing and sale of marijuana.
  • On June 1, the board began the process needed to amend county code.

“I’ve often said that I feel that this is something very similar to what my grandmother experienced during prohibition,” said Commissioner Tammy Baney. “We won’t be able to take care of the black market through these regulations. We won’t be able to solve all of the issues. But the fact remains that we are living with a new industry and that industry has been allowed. I think we’ve done a great job in seeking balance to try and bring two sides together and create good neighbor policies and a process that allows for an industry but recognizes the importance of community. I’m encouraged by our community’s ability to come together.”

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