Deschutes County residents voted no to permitting any new recreational marijuana growing or processing facilities in the rural part of the county, according to unofficial election results.
About 59% of Deschutes County residents voted no on Measure 9-134, according to initial returns Tuesday, which means they were not in favor of having future recreational marijuana operations in the county. About 42% voted yes, meaning they did want future marijuana growing and processing facilities to be permitted in the county.
Deschutes County Commission Chairwoman Patti Adair said she was thankful that the county listened to the concerns of rural residents on this issue.
“We have so much marijuana in this state, so honestly did we need anymore?” said Adair shortly after initial returns came out. “So I have to be thankful.”
Deschutes County appears to be the first county in Oregon to opt out of growing recreational marijuana after voting to approve it back in 2016.
This measure only affects processing and growing in rural Deschutes County, not in cities. Retail marijuana businesses are also not affected, nor is medical marijuana.
Marijuana has long be a contentious issue in Deschutes County. The Land Use Board of Appeals has twice delivered rulings that call one rule, which regulates how close marijuana operations can be to “youth activity centers,” unreasonable.
In August 2019, the Deschutes County Commission voted to put a moratorium on any new marijuana processing and growing permits until the November 2020 election. The question of marijuana was sent to the ballot after dozens of rural residents came to a public hearing to ask the county to opt out of future marijuana growth instead of trying to retool regulations.