JUNE 24, 2014
The Board of Commissioners’ Work Session was opened by Commissioner Skundrick on Tuesday,
June 24, at 9:00 a.m. in the Jackson Room. Those present were:
Don Skundrick, Chair
Doug Breidenthal, Commissioner
John Rachor, Commissioner
Danny Jordan, County Administrator
Joel Benton, County Counsel
Kelly Madding, Development Services Director
Jackson Baures, Public Health Division Manager
Lynell Dewey, Recording Secretary
Members of the Public and Press
GUESTS: Mr. Ken Wienkie, Boise Cascade
Mr. Jacob Groves, Murphy Plywood
Marijuana – County Ordinance Development Discussion – Kelly Madding, Development
Services Director
Ms. Madding reviewed memos from December 21, 2009 (Submission No. 1) and June 19, 2014
(Submission No. 2) regarding marijuana grow sites and dispensaries. She requested direction from
the Board on whether to move forward with researching and developing regulations regarding
medical marijuana dispensaries and/or grow sites. She noted that one of the justifications for the
moratorium, which expires May 1, 2015, was that staff needed time to research dispensary
regulations because Jackson County’s current Land Development Ordinance (LDO) does not
include medical marijuana dispensaries. Development Services and the Board have been receiving
multiple complaints about medical marijuana grow sites, and the number of sites is increasing. Ms.
Madding is not currently aware of any jurisdiction regulating marijuana grow sites. At the time of
the 2009 memo, the County had put forward a legislative concept, which died in Committee,
requiring the State regulate medical marijuana grow sites as part of the criminal code, as opposed
to land use. Since that time, both Colorado and Washington have legalized marijuana, and it
appears an initiative will be on the Oregon ballot in November.
A discussion was held about the separate issues of siting dispensaries, and what regulation might
be possible for grow sites through an LDO. Mr. Benton stated that there has been no legal decision
made on whether or not the State has pre-empted local regulation of grow sites through the Medical
Marijuana Act and subsequent legislation. If the County pursues such regulation, lengthy litigation
is expected. The most legally-defensible decision would be regulating grow sites as agricultural
use. The potential legalization of recreational use of marijuana by adults within Oregon would
mean it would be treated like any other agricultural plant, but would not eliminate the Medical
Marijuana Act and medical marijuana grow sites.
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Ms. Madding explained that from a land use perspective, Agricultural Use and Farm Use are
different. Crops being grown for profit are considered an Agricultural Use, and medical marijuana
is not Agricultural Use, because it is not for a financial profit. It is considered Farm Use, and
growing farm crops, whether the crop is tomatoes or medical marijuana, is a permitted use in every
zone in Jackson County.
A discussion was held regarding a possible nuisance Ordinance, and the necessary application of
such an Ordinance across all situations. Examples were given of bright lights being used by
marijuana growers, but also occurring when wheat farmers are cutting in the evening. Enforcement
of nuisance odors is very subjective, unless there are toxins involved, and difficult to enforce. If
recreational marijuana becomes legal in Oregon, the Right To Farm Act would come into effect, as
it would become an income-producing crop, and all traditional farming practices must be allowed.
Dispensaries are an easier issue than grow sites, because there are specific State laws authorizing
time, place, and manner of regulation on a local level, and these laws were not included in the
Medical Marijuana Act. Mr. Benton stated that there is nothing in State law that allows a local
government to regulate a grow site. This does not mean the County cannot do so, but it is a question
that would end up being litigated to determine federal law, state law, and the inherent authority of
a local government. If the County chooses to work through the legislative process, it would bypass
much of the potential litigation. It was suggested that the Board may want to propose small changes
to the Medical Marijuana Act, such as a minimum distance from schools which makes sense to
most everyone, and encourage one of the Representatives or Senators to sponsor such a bill. The
Oregon Supreme Court has ruled that local governments cannot say they are trying to comply with
Federal law and ignore State law. Commissioner Breidenthal suggested staff research possibilities
and prepare draft legislative concepts for the next Legislative session regarding regulations on grow
sites. Commissioner Rachor and Commissioner Skundrick did not support investing staff’s time
on that project.
Mr. Jordan noted that because medical marijuana was not legal when the LDO was created, it must
be revised to allow for medical marijuana dispensaries. Unless medical marijuana dispensary use
is delineated in the Code, Development Services will deny the application, which will result in
lawsuits after the moratorium ends. Some have suggested it could be considered a drug store, but
it doesn’t fit those parameters, as it isn’t regulated or governed by pharmacy laws. Regulating
medical marijuana dispensaries will require amending the LDO, including the public hearings
process with the Planning Commission before being voted on by the Board. The moratorium
expires May 1, 2015, and staff needs to start now to develop criteria for dispensaries in order to
have the Ordinance in place prior to May 1, 2015. It is a lengthy process. Mr. Jordan reminded
the Board that the County charter requires any new County tax to be approved by the citizens, and
any tax on dispensaries would require a county-wide vote. The City of Gold Hill does not have
that restriction, and have placed a fee or tax on the dispensary in that city.
The Board directed staff to go forward with recommendations of LDO changes to include
Jackson County Public Health Authority Plan Discussion – Jackson Baures, HHS Public Health
Division Manager
Mr. Baures distributed and reviewed with the Board a memo regarding the Public Health Plan and
national accreditation (Submission No. 3). By statute and administrative rule, the Board of
Commissioners is required to approve the Health Department’s Annual Plan in order to continue
with the Intergovernmental Agreements with the Oregon Health Authority, receive funding, and
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provide public health services. The Public Health Advisory Committee has thoroughly reviewed
the Plan and recommends approval. The Public Health Department would like to apply for national
accreditation and is hoping to obtain a letter of support from the Board of Commissioners. Mr.
Baures also distributed and reviewed a list of Minimum Standards (Submission No. 4), the Strategic
Plan for 2014-2018 (Submission No. 5), and the 2013 Community Health Assessment
(Submission No. 6). While there are costs associated with accreditation, a grant was used to cover
much of the cost incurred in applying for accreditation, and accreditation will help in applying for
grants, as it is a very competitive environment.
Letter of Support of Small Business Administration Timber Rules Discussion – Commissioner
Commissioner Breidenthal introduced Mr. Jacob Groves from Murphy Company, and Ken
Wienkie from Boise Cascade, who spoke about the negative effects of the draft rules for Jackson
County, if the rules are approved by the Forest Service. The Board reviewed a revised letter
regarding the proposed changes to the Small Business Administration rules, and previous letters
received and sent by the Board of Commissioners on this topic (Submission No. 7). A previous
letter from the Board was sent to the Bureau of Land Management, and the proposed letter is in
response to the U.S. Forest Service draft rules on this topic. The Board agreed to send this letter,
and to address it to Mr. Connaughton and Mr. MacWhorter of the U.S. Forest Service, with copies
sent to Senators Wyden, Merkley, and Congressmen Walden, DeFazio, and Schrader.
Update on Governor’s Executive Order 12-07 – Commissioner Rachor
There was nothing new to report on this project.
Executive Session
There were no topics for Executive Session.
There being no further business, the Work Session adjourned at 10:22 a.m.
/s/ Don Skundrick
Don Skundrick, Chair
/s/ Doug Breidenthal
Doug Breidenthal, Commissioner
/s/ John Rachor
John Rachor, Commissioner
/s/ Lynell Dewey
Lynell Dewey, Recorder
Approved on:
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