BEND, OR -- Local governments in Oregon have until the end of the year to opt out of allowing marijuana businesses in their communities, under certain conditions. Deschutes County Commissioners will hold two public hearings Wednesday to discuss whether to ban pot businesses from rural parts of the county.
County Commissioner Tony DeBone says the meetings are an opportunity to hear what people have to say. "We're looking for input from people on what do you want to see in the rural community only, for land use and development for the different aspects of commercial marijuana and medical marijuana. Production, growing the plants is going to be different than warehousing and storage, which is different than processing, packaging for retail. So there are a lot of aspects to it."
Commissioner Alan Unger says there are livability considerations. "How do neighbors be neighborly? And, that's one of the issues we need to figure out is, when you have a person who decides to have a marijuana grow operation, they put their greenhouse that they're going to grow it in right on their property line next to their neighbor whose house is next door, then blow the skunky air out of their greenhouse toward their neighbor; that not neighborly." He acknowledges this is a unique issue. "Marijuana is an agricultural crop, but it's different than a lot of other crops. I don't know another crop that has that kind of aroma, except maybe mint or a feed lot. So, that's an issue that this crop has that's a long lasting issue that we need to pay attention to."
Supporters of the industry say a ban would hurt the local economy and prevent the area from participating in a growing business.
Two public meetings will be held Wednesday, at 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. at the Deschutes County Services Building (1300 NW Wall St., Bend). If a ban is imposed, it would only involve unincorporated areas, not inside the city limits of Bend, Redmond, La Pine and Sisters.