Growers and county respond to LUBA decision on marijuana ordinance

Josephine County, Ore. — Marijuana growers are reacting to the decision announced by the state Land Use Board of Appeals.

“I have spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $450,000,” Selma resident Judi Scharns said.

Judi Scharns and her husband have been medical marijuana patients since they moved to Josephine County.

“We both have back issues… mine is congenital from birth,” Scharns said.

But when they weren’t able to purchase from their growers anymore, they used most of their retirement savings to become growers themselves.

“Just prior to finding out that the county was going to change all the rules,” Scharns said.

Josephine County Commissioners passed an ordinance in December of last year to regulate marijuana grows in rural residential zones.

It would prohibit marijuana on lots of five acres or less with the exception of 12 personal mature plants.

“How much marijuana that’s going out of state needs to be reduced according to the federal government,” Commissioner Morgan said.

Josephine County Commissioner Lily Morgan says the ordinance became of interest after hearing concern around the county.

“We are still getting contacted multiple times a day from people in the community asking for help in resolving some of the unresolved issues,” Commissioner Morgan said.

On the other hand, growers like Scharns have been worried about a violation of private property rights.

“We are trying to develop small business that will support ourselves and our families,” Scharns said.

Scharns says she’s breathing a sigh of relief after the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals or LUBA announced the county didn’t follow proper procedures when it failed to notify residents by mail.

“We followed the counsel we were given by our legal advice. We do want to do things according to the law, we want to do it right, and we did to the best of our ability at that time,” Commissioner Morgan said.

Commissioner Morgan says the appeal is a part of due process and commissioners will be looking for a better solution.

Scharns says she would also like to see reasonable regulation, and she thinks the best step is for commissioners to work with the growers.

“Work with us to find common ground where we can all grow, we can all have our businesses, and that neighbors won’t be negatively impacted by those who don’t care about their neighbors,” Scharns said.

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