Portland commissioners consider marijuana business zoning

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To read the full article by Rick Bella of The Oregonian, click here

Clackamas County commissioners have launched the first countywide effort in the Portland metro area to adopt zoning codes for the marijuana industry.

So far, the sticking points appear to be whether to allow growing and processing pot in industrial zones and what restrictions to apply on rural residential properties.

The commissioners are divided on the issues, but said they’re keeping open minds, especially because the Oregon Liquor Control Commission hasn’t yet issued its statewide administrative rules for recreational marijuana purchases, sales, growing, processing, transportation and delivery, which are due Jan. 1.

“We are advising all of our members to wait and see what comes out,” said Rob Bovett, legal counsel for the Association of Oregon Counties. “But some counties apparently are getting a head start.”

In Clackamas County, the commissioners got a long head start. The commissioners met with the county’s Planning Commission in July, then visited two marijuana-growing operations to learn more about how it works.

In August, the commissioners appointed a citizen task force to discuss marijuana land-use policy issues. The task force met three times.

Meanwhile, the commissioners visited a medical marijuana dispensary and asked county planners to send proposed land-use regulations to the state Department of Land Conservation and Development for review.

And last week, the commissioners held a public roundtable discussion to sample public opinions on the issues.

“It’s real and it’s here to stay,” Chairman John Ludlow. “Voters approved it and there are 8,000 growers in Clackamas County. Recreational sales start Oct. 1, so we might as well work on our land-use ordinances.”

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