The Deschutes County Commission has been struggling to govern the marijuana industry in the county ever since voters legalized the growth, sale and recreational use of the drug in 2014. Commissioners have certainly left an impression over the years that their preferred method of governance would be to ban production altogether.
Because they can’t do that they’ve worked, and are continuing to work, to nickel and dime would-be marijuana producers to death.
It’s a plan that has failed so far. Thus, after the county decided to impose system development charges on weed producers, the 2019 Legislature simply outlawed the practice.
The commission will hold a public hearing Wednesday on proposed new rules for marijuana production at its regular meeting.
Once again, the rules seem aimed at making compliance so onerous that would-be marijuana producers either drop their plans or go elsewhere. Too, what would be asked of marijuana producers is not required of any other agriculture, from pig farmers to hay producers.
Among other things, the proposed rules:
— Require a complex odor control plan, not just evidence that odor control equipment will work. The plan must include everything from a “detailed analysis of the technology” to identification of who is responsible for each of the plan’s many parts.
— A similar plan will also be required regarding noise control, and the proposed rules exempt noise created by marijuana production from the state’s Right to Farm law.
— Each applicant must state how much water will be needed for his or her business, provide proof that it’s available, and, if a water source changes, modify the plan that’s already on file.
— Each applicant also must get a statement from the utility that supplies electricity that says the utility has reviewed the applicant’s electricity needs and can fill them.
— Too, the proposal would remove mixed use agricultural land from that available for marijuana production. That might actually make sense: The zone allows for lots as small as 10 acres, and that means neighbors are more likely to be nearby.
And so on.
It’s hard to know what exactly will happen with the current proposal. We know what should happen, however. The commission should recognize the reality of marijuana in Oregon. It’s here to stay. It’s legal, and, like it or not, farmers have a right to grow it and should not be unfairly targeted for additional regulation.