Marijuana Zoning Proposal Creates Questions in Oregon

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Marijuana growers in one Oregon county may face stringent new zoning rules that would limit where they can cultivate, but such a move could violate the state’s recreational cannabis law and land use regulations.

Commissioners in Linn County are weighing a proposal that would limit grow sites to light industrial or commercial zones in a bid to ease security concerns tied to having outdoor cultivation sites near residential areas, according to Capital Press. The thinking is that most growers would cultivate indoors if forced into those zones.

Opponents say the move would amount to an attempt to blunt marijuana production, and some are worried that other counties and cities could adopt similar rules.

It’s unclear if the county can even take this step. One lawyer told Capital Press that officials essentially cannot use zoning laws to create a “functional ban” on MMJ businesses.

If the ordinance passes, those who break the rules would be subject to civil penalties rather than criminal penalties.

Oregon lawmakers have had a tough time trying to craft regulations governing the state’s marijuana industry as cities and counties have threatened to sue over the right to impose local cannabis taxes, which was forbidden by Measure 91.