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Medical Cannabis Growers Win Big in Jackson CountyBonnie King Salem-News.com Cannabis De-Classified
Cannabis farmers will be allowed to once again grow in rural residential Jackson County.
(JACKSON COUNTY, Ore.) - Tuesday, the Jackson County Hearings Officer Panel issued a decision which approved a “non-conforming use application” to grow medical marijuana on RR-5 lands. This is considered a huge win for medical growers.
Since last spring, Jackson County has been denying non-conforming use applications because the County said property owners/growers never obtained a “Type 1 Permit”, lawfully establishing their use.
It looks like a great time to turn in that application again.
So what happened? In April 2016, the board of county commissioners adopted Ordinance 2016-3, which amended the Jackson County Land Development Ordinance (LDO) to regulate the production, processing, wholesaling, and retail sale of marijuana.
The Oregon Legislature allowed them to do that, in fact they encouraged it.
After Measure 91 was passed by voters, the Legislature enacted changes to the OMMA in 2015/16, allowing the governing body of a city or county to adopt "reasonable regulations on the operation of marijuana grow sites" (and many other things).
The Board decided that keeping medical marijuana grows off Rural Residential land was “reasonable”, even though the over-whelming majority of growers in Jackson County are naturally located on RR-5 land, and marijuana production had been allowed in the Rural Residential zone prior to the enactment of the ordinance.
Apparently, the board members figured that since there are over one million acres of land in Jackson County suitable for marijuana cultivation, growers (aka FARMERS) could simply do without using their RR land.
As a result, marijuana farming in Jackson County came to a virtual halt.
Many Jackson County citizens have been directly hurt by this ban - medical patients registered with the OMMP (Oregon Medical Marijuana Program).
Medical growers had to stop growing because of the ban. Sick and ill people with chronic medical conditions means they often depend on Social Security as the only income, and therefore cannot afford to shop at dispensaries.
“My grower used to provide me with medical marijuana at no cost. Because I can't afford medical marijuana, I have had to resume using more dangerous pharmaceutical pain killers,” a patient wrote to the court.
So, if you were growing on RR-5 land prior to March of 2016, your non-conforming use application now has a good chance of finding approval. Any grow that started after that date will be under the new rules: 6 medical (OMMP) and 4 rec plants (21+).
To get the “non-conforming use permit”, you must apply, and provide proof that the property was used as a cannabis grow prior to the ordinance. Remember, the permit is for the property not the person and follows the property not the person.
"Now, according to the Hearings Officer Panel, no Type 1 Permit was ever needed."
“This is a big win for growers in Jackson County, and a real blow against Jackson County’s relentless attack on medical marijuana,” said Sandy Diesel.
“And we're just getting started!”
Source(s): Ross Day, Day Law & Associates, P.C.; Right to Grow, U.S.A.
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