BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners have a tough decision, next week. Commissioners are expected to decide on May fourth whether or not to continue to ban marijuana grow operations in unincorporated areas. They elected to temporarily opt out of allowing outdoor grows in December, while a Marijuana Advisory Committee discussed possible regulations.
Matt Cyrus, head of the Deschutes County Farm Bureau, was part of the 13-member committee. He says it was evenly split with supporters and the opposition. He sees pot purely as a crop that should be legal to grow. “For example, I voted against Measure 91 that would’ve legalized it. I’ve never tried it, I don’t have an interest in recreational marijuana. However, from an agricultural standpoint, it’s now legal and Deschutes County’s farmers should have the right to raise it.”
He tells KBND the group reached agreement on the biggest issues. “We were able to reach consensus on mitigation on nuisances such as odor, noise and light – which are the primary nuisance issues. Issues such as setbacks, minimum lot sizes certainly don’t come into play as much.”
OreGrown co-owner Hunter Neubauer was also on the MAC and agrees County Commissioners need to lift the ban, instead of sending it to voters in November. “Kicking the can down the line is not what it seems like; by not acting, it’s not going to provide political cover. It is very clearly saying who they support and why they support it.”
Several members of the MAC also belong to the group Preserve Rural Deschutes, which opposes marijuana grows. “The reason that it became so, unfortunately, one way at the end, as far as the proceedings of the committee were going, was because there was no reasonable approach from the opposition,” Neubauer tells KBND. “We tried extremely hard again and again and again to say, ‘Hey look, we’re willing to go above and beyond what we know is reasonable, and let us remind you again, we are talking about Exclusive Farm Use.’”
Click HERE to learn more about the opposition's take on MAC negotiations.