George Noorey

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BEND, OR -- It was a packed house as Deschutes County hosted the second of two public hearings, Thursday night, on proposed regulations for businesses that sell, grow and process marijuana in unincorporated areas.

 
The Planning Commission is trying to adopt what the state calls "reasonable" regulations for marijuana-related businesses. Their initial proposal calls for adopting similar rules as the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. Many testified against the county’s plan, citing a number of issues. "We never received actual notice as to what was going on." Another commented, "Our property values will immediately and irreversibly decline the moment this is enacted." A woman gave a laundry list of problems she worried about, "Light pollution, increased traffic, security concerns, noise and plant odor." And many asked the county to opt out of allowing the businesses altogether.  
 
There were some supporters of the proposed regulations. "We are not growing cannabis, we are growing and we’re setting off a ripple effect of job creation," said one woman. Another added, "We do need a place where we can grow our crop and provide this product for our patients." One man said he was happy with the Commission's proposal, "They are certainly regulation I can work under."
 
The Planning Commission ended verbal testimony but extended written testimony of the proposed regulation until noon Monday. They will then deliberate in two meetings before making a recommendation to County Commissioners.

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