Growers prevail as Oregon counties seek restrictions on marijuana cultivation

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The Oregon Court of Appeals rejected an appeal by county commissioners in southern Oregon, a prime marijuana-growing part of the state, to reinstate restrictions on commercial cannabis production.

The appeals court’s dismissal without comment Wednesday of the Josephine County commissioners’ case marks the latest step in the struggle between growers trying to protect their businesses and investments and the county’s political leaders looking to tamp down the locally proliferating MJ industry.

In December, the county commission passed an ordinance banning commercial cannabis farming on smaller rural residential lots and reducing larger grow sites.

The commissioners were appealing a ruling by the state Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) that put those restrictions on hold.

LUBA said the county had failed to properly notify landowners.

Members of the commission in the southern Oregon county have called cannabis farms a nuisance.

Pete Gendron, a marijuana grower in Sunny Valley, Josephine County, and president of the Oregon SunGrowers’ Guild, has pointed out that growers have invested large sums to start operations and said they were shocked when the county tried to restrict them.

One grower had a letter from the county dating back a year or more stating that cannabis cultivation was farm use and was allowed, and he invested a half-million dollars because of those assurances, Gendron said.

Associated Press