Proposed regulations for marijuana businesses in unincorporated Deschutes County are undergoing another round of scrutiny.
Both medical marijuana business owners and wary property owners have concerns about what is currently being proposed.
Deschutes County commissioners heard from the public during two hearings Wednesday. The proposed county pot regulations would be applied to medical and recreational marijuana growing, retail shops, wholesaling and processing.
The Deschutes County Planning Commission made rule recommendations to county commissioners Nov. 23. The suggestions included zoning requirements for the four business operations and standards for screening, noise, lighting and odor.
County commissioners are expected to decide on the proposed rules Dec. 21.
Medical marijuana growers and dispensary owners urged county commissioners Wednesday to revisit earlier drafts of the proposed rules. Zoning recommendations from the planning commission would limit growing of marijuana to the exclusive farm use zone or the rural industrial zone with a conditional use permit. Growers would also have to have at least 20 acres of land to produce pot in the farming zone.
Jeremy Kwit, owner of the Bloom Well medical marijuana dispensary in Bend, said his business relies on small-scale marijuana growers.
Kwit said he is concerned that the proposed rules would end up excluding those with smaller acreage, whether in the farming zone or other zones such as rural residential and multiple use agricultural.
“We rely on small, family farmers to provide us with cannabis products for our clients, most of whom also reside in the county,” Kwit said. “ … Small farmers are good stewards of their land, they’re good neighbors and they’re engaged civic participants.”
“There’s got to be a way to do this even on multiple use agricultural property,” said Bob Blake, a dispensary owner in Bend.
Dan Burkhalter, who lives in the Oregon Water Wonderland Unit II subdivision south of Sunriver, told commissioners that growing should be limited to the exclusive farm use zone and not allowed in rural residential zoned areas like his community.
“Regulations need to be established that protect the fundamental right of a neighbor’s peaceful and quiet enjoyment of their home,” Burkhalter said. “Clearly, protection needs to be afforded neighboring property owners from the degradation of the quality of our lives and the enjoyment of our properties and homes.”
Burkhalter said he’s not opposed to marijuana and voted for Measure 91, which legalized recreational use of pot. But he added that he wants protections for residents.
Jim Petsche, who lives next to a medical marijuana grower in Tumalo, said the planning commission didn’t do enough to address potential impacts.
Petsche said county commissioners should strengthen the requirement for odor control.
“The current wording is vague and would be very difficult to enforce,” said Petsche.
The planning commission recommended that growers using buildings and greenhouses be required to use a carbon filtration system and have one or more fans to control odor.
Other proposed rules restrict light usage at pot growing operations and require the processing of marijuana extracts to be permitted only within a fire district.
— Reporter: 541-617-7820,