BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners continue deliberations Monday, on whether or not to allow commercial marijuana grow operations in rural areas. Discussions between the three Commissioners began Wednesday, with potential regulations for lighting, odor and setbacks for grows.
Sheriff Shane Nelson has told Commissioners in the past that he wants voters to decide whether they should be allowed. He reiterated his feelings at last week's League of Women Voters Candidate Forum. "Sheriff's Office resources will be affected by that. We know that calls for service will increase in that arena. And, I want the citizens to tell me if it's OK with them that the Sheriff's Office resources will be affected by that; and that's why I want it to go to a vote."
His challenger, Deputy Eric Kozowski, says it's not the Sheriff's decision. "Number one, it's not up to me to decide which regulations; that's the job of County Commissioners, the State Legislature and the OLCC. I live on EFU [Exclusive Farm Use] property east of Bend. I potentially could be impacted by this, so I fully understand the concerns of rural residents. Regardless of what the law is, it is our job to uphold the law."
So far, Commissioners have agreed grow operations should be set back 100 feet from a property line and 300 feet from a home. They've also said bright lights should be forbidden between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. They could make a final decision during the 1:30 p.m. work session and allow the operations with regulations or continue to opt out and send it to voters in November.