Oregon’s Josephine County Goes From Bad to Worse on Cannabis

Oregon’s Josephine County Goes From Bad to Worse on Cannabis
The scales have tipped sharply against legal growers in Josephine County, Oregon.

At the end of September,we discussed the successful efforts of local growers in Josephine County, Oregon, to stop an ordinance that would have effectively banned commercial and medical marijuana on rural residential land in the county. After passionate argument by the growers, the Josephine County Board of Commissioners (Board) went back to the drawing board.

And they came back with something arguably worse. For comparison purposes, here is a shortsummary of the ordinance that almost passed back in September:

  1. Any OLCC licensed site would needa 300-foot setback on all sides. Currently, the code requires a setback of 30 feet in the front, 10 feet on the sides, and 25 feet in the rear.
  2. The property would need to beowned directly by the OLCC licensee. This wouldbe problematic because many licensees lease land, or hold the land in a separate holding company for liability purposes.
  3. No OLCC site couldbe serviced by private road, easement, or owner maintained public right-of-way unless the OLCC producer owns all of the land adjacent to the right of way.

Any farm that could not meet these requirementswould have hadthirty days from the date the ordinance wentinto effect to request a Determination of Non-conforming Use. To qualify for a non-conforming use determination, a recreational site needed to:

  1. Be in full compliance with the county codes as they existed prior to the amendments; and
  2. Either have obtained a Land Use Compatibility Statement (LUCS) from the county planning department prior to the adoption of the new ordinance amendment, or have applied for a LUCS prior to the adoption of the amendment that is being actively processed by [the] OLCC with the intent to issue a license.

And here is a short summary of the ordinance that was officially adopted on December 6, 2017. Any property zoned rural residential with more than 12 mature plants(the ordinance doesnt seem to distinguish between medical and recreational) must comply with the following requirements:

  1. Cannabis production will be banned outright on all lots or parcels of five acres or less. This provision was included even though Commissioner Dan DeYounghas previously been quoted as saying The rules should be the same for all rural residential whether its one acre, two and a half acres, five, ten, twenty-nine.
  2. Lots larger than five acres may have up to a 1,250 square foot indoor grow area or a 5,000 square foot outdoor grow area (compared with the 10,000 square foot indoor or 40,000 square foot outdoor maximum per license allowed by OLCC regulations).
  3. The property musthave a100 foot setback on all sides for all structures and grow canopies.
  4. The person regulated by the State of Oregon must have an interest in the lot or parcel where the marijuana production site is located. At a minimum, this provision will ban the common practice of landowners leasing a ...
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