The county adopted regulations in March 2016 that, along with a change in Oregon law, made growing medical marijuana in rural residential zones illegal, reports the Medford Mail Tribune.
Recreational cannabis grows had already been banned in Jackson County. Rural residents are allowed to grow up to four plants for personal use, and marijuana can be grown in large quantities on land zoned for agricultural use (with a permit).Cannabis growers who had already been producing in those zones could apply to be grandfathered in by seeking a pre-existing, nonconforming use permit, according to county officials. But staff have been denying those applications, triggering a wave of appeals before county hearings officers.
Some whiny people have been complaining to county officials about their pot-growing neighbors. Development Services Director Kelly Madding recommended that the county declare medical marijuana grows on residential rural land a nuisance.The Jackson County Board of Commissioners in April told staff members to research the pros and cons of such a move. Marijuana advocates have estimated there are thousands of grows in Jackson County, although not all of them are on rural residential land.
There are 43,000 acres of rural residential land in Jackson County. The county has 816,000 acres that would continue to be legal for grows, including extensive farm use and forest zones, Madding said. But that, of course, doesn’t help the medical marijuana patients who happen to be only able to afford to grow their own.If marijuana grows on rural residential land are declared nuisances, the county could take code enforcement action after getting complaints.
Landowners could then, according to County Counsel Joel Benton, say they should be be compensated by the county for lost land value.
The situation could raise complex legal questions, according to Benton. For instance, is eliminating someone’s right to grow medical marijuana a “taking” of their property value that requires compensation?