Rural Oregon struggling with legal pot regulations


Jefferson Co. County Commission Chairman: “We’ve done absolutely nothing.”

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BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Crook County and Jefferson County have made little headway on implementing the state’s new legal marijuana market.

Or as Jefferson County Commission Chairman Wayne Fording said in the Bend Bulletin: “We’ve done absolutely nothing. Realistically, there’s very little county property zoned commercial. There’s a little bit of commercial ground at Crooked River Ranch, but most of it’s EFU (exclusive farm use) or ranch land.”

Both jurisdictions have an out as the Oregon Legislature passed a law allowing counties that voted against Measure 91 with a 55% majority to ban medical and recreational marijuana outlets.

Crook County shot down Measure 91 about 59 to 41 percent, while Jefferson County’s tally was closer to 56-44. Voters in Deschutes County voted in favor of Measure 91 with an approval rate of about 52 percent. House Bill 34000 only applies to areas under county control and does not affect an individual city’s decision on marijuana business activity. Madras and Prineville, the largest cities in Jefferson County and Crook County, respectively, are both accepting applications for medical marijuana dispensaries. Neither Jefferson County nor Crook County has received an application for a marijuana-related business.

“Those counties that voted no by at least 55 percent — we call them ‘Hell no’ counties — they can enact ordinances that prohibit any of the six different marijuana businesses licensed by the state,” said Rob Bovett, legal counsel for the Association of Oregon Counties. Bovett helped craft House Bill 3400. “Those ‘Hell no’ counties don’t have to refer those restrictions to the voters, though they can if they choose.”

(SOURCE: Bend Bulletin)

At the Federal level, U.S. Rep Earl Blumenauer said he plans to introduce legislation that would expunge the criminal record for some federal marijuana offenders.

The bill applies to people who were federally charged for actions that were legal in the state where they lived, and those who were found in possession of under an ounce of marijuana.

“The penalties of failed prohibition policies should stop ruining people’s lives,” Blumenauer says. “People who were caught up in the federal criminal justice system for a marijuana offense that was legal under state law at the time should not carry around a drug record.”

(SOURCE: Willamette Week)

Blumenauer has long championed legalizing marijuana and criticized the above law allowing rural jurisdictions to opt out of Measure 91.

RELATED NEWS: Coburg up in arms re new dispensarySen. Wyden co-sponsors bill for legal marijuana on tax issue 

 


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