Commissioners Debate Recreational Cannabis Regulations in Clackamas County, Oregon

On Wednesday, Dec. 2, Clackamas County commissioners met to detail how the county will handle new recreational marijuana operations, approving an ordinance designed to regulate the growing, distribution and sale of retail cannabis. This move comes before the state has even begun accepting applications for recreational business licenses, which is expected to happen Jan. 4, 2016.

They want to “go forward with some really tight regulations,” said Board Chairman John Ludlow. The ordinance bans commercial cultivation in all zones except small rural plots that are already zoned for farm or forest use. It also imposes strict controls on indoor growing, and limits processing cannabis into concentrates to industrial-use zones and buildings.

The ordinance also outlines high minimum distances between recreational marijuana retail shops and schools, parks, and daycare centers.

The move to tighten regulations on recreational marijuana comes after Clackamas County placed a moratorium on medical marijuana sales in 2014. Though the moratorium has ended, cities and counties can still attempt to “opt out” of Oregon’s new recreational cannabis laws by banning marijuana-related facilities.

Clackamas County Commissioner Paul Savas dissented in discussions over the new ordinance, arguing instead to continue the county’s current ban on marijuana, despite the fact that recreational marijuana was approved by 52% of the county’s voters.

“Paul, I think you are irresponsible when you make statements like that,” said Chairman Ludlow, during the exchange.

“I think the voters made that decision and we need to stand behind it,” confirmed Commissioner Jim Bernard.

Photo Credit: Joel Bombardier

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