BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners continued to deliberate for three and a half more hours, Monday, but failed to make a final decision on whether commercial marijuana operations will be allowed in rural areas.
They will continue the discussion at their 10 a.m. meeting, Wednesday. Monday afternoon, Commissioners considered rules for which zones would be allowed to grow cannabis. County Commissioner Tony DeBone wants to limit marijuana operations to Exclusive Farm Use (EFU), for now. "As a starting point on a narrow path, EFU would be a place that would be a good starting point, so I'm not really motivated to include MUA at this point. I think of a recreational adult-use production is going to be more of a business and a high-value crop. And, Multiple Use Agriculture [MUA], I see, is that lifestyle - a couple horses on a small property - type of thing."
Commissioner Alan Unger would like to restrict processing operations more than grows. "I'm looking at trying to control processing by limiting size, somehow. So, that we aren't looking at big operations with industrial and lots of people coming to work there. Farming is farming and you should be doing crops; you shouldn't be doing industrial processing. So, how do we allow for small operations that have little impact, versus big operations that have a lot of impact."
County Administrator Tom Anderson advised them to add guidelines for consequences if applicants fail inspections. "You might consider including in that language, the 'what if' if they fail the annual inspection. That provides some certainty to both the applicant as well as neighbors, as to what that means. It could be something as simple as 'failure of the annual inspection will result in code enforcement,' all the way up to 'if not corrected in X-number of days shall result in a fine of some kind.'"
Commissioners say they hope to reach a decision Wednesday on whether to opt in and implement regulations, or continue the ban and let voters decide in November.