|As many will remember after Measure 91 passed in 2015, the Deschutes County Commissioners at the time chose to first “Opt Out” of cannabis businesses and then imposed a lengthy decision making process around whether or not to allow legal cannabis operations (farming, processing, retail, and wholesale) in the unincorporated parts of the County. Our local cannabis industry worked together to show support for “opting in” by testifying at public hearings and signing petitions. We were successful in that support and by the middle of 2016 the Commissioners voted to allow cannabis farming, processing and retail stores in unincorporated areas.
As you may recall as well, while these businesses were allowed to operate, the County imposed very burdensome land use processes and rules… but as an industry we were just happy to have the opportunity to participate in the legal recreational cannabis space.
Unfortunately in 2019, Deschutes County Commissioners voted to adopt ordinances prohibiting any additional commercial marijuana producers and processors being established in the unincorporated County (i.e. outside of Bend, Redmond, Sisters, and La Pine). It’s noteworthy that prior to “Opting Out” for the second time, many cannabis land use applications were being denied for what we would argue are unjust causes for denial.
The good news is that these ordinances that “opt out” for a second time are only temporary. Oregon law requires that Deschutes County must refer the matter to the County electors at the next statewide general election… and that’s this November. Another important factor is that disallowing new cannabis production and processing businesses in the County will prevent the County from collecting the cannabis tax money, as State law requires local jurisdictions to allow all license types in order to collect that tax revenue. This is not just hurting our cannabis community, it’s hurting the County as a whole.
Enough is enough… The rules are already burdensome enough, especially when we consider that hemp is growing all over the County. So this measure is a really important one for our local cannabis community to promote a YES vote on, as it overturns the ordinances and allows for additional OLCC licensed farms and processors to contribute to our local economy, create jobs and most importantly produce legal cannabis.
Please consider forwarding this newsletter to those in your local networks. At CCA we are concerned that the ballot language could be interpreted in a way that pacifies the measure’s importance.