BEND, OR -- They had to clear the room during the Planning Commissions final deliberations on proposed regulations for marijuana businesses in unincorporated Deschutes County. The nearly five-hour meeting attracted an audience of almost 200.
Hugh Palcic, Planning Commission Chair, tried to maintain control of the meeting, "I’m comfortable with what we’re putting forward to the County Commissioners. I would support it fully, even though there are parts of it I would support stronger than others. But, that’s part of the process and I understand that." But, shortly after making that statement, several members of the audience interrupted the meeting and things escalated. Several neighbors tried to argue with the panel over potential water usage on marijuana farms. Palcic banged his gavel saying, "Excuse me; excuse me. You know what? We’re going to clear the room. Let’s go, we’re done."
After the room was cleared, the Planning Commission voted 5-to-2 to recommend to the county to NOT opt out and instead adopt their proposed regulations. Among those regulations are: allowing marijuana grow operations only on Exclusive Farm Use land 20-acres or larger; 200-foot setbacks from property lines; added odor control and screening of nighttime lights.
The Deschutes County Board of Commissioners will hold two public hearings on the matter Wednesday, December 2 at 1:30 and 6 p.m. Even then, they could choose to opt out entirely and not allow marijuana related business in unincorporated Deschutes County.