Bend, Ore. (April 27, 2016) – By a 2-1 margin, Deschutes County voters say County Commissioners should establish reasonable regulations for marijuana businesses to operate in rural and unincorporated Deschutes County rather than refer another legalization measure to the ballot, a poll has found. The survey by the public opinion research firm Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates also found that support for Measure 91 has grown in Deschutes County since voters approved the measure legalizing and regulating marijuana in 2014.
“Deschutes County voters have a clear message for County Commissioners: it’s time to implement the will of the voters and enact sensible rules to regulate marijuana businesses,” said Amy Margolis, who represents the Oregon Cannabis Association, a statewide professional association representing the cannabis business community. The survey was paid for by local cannabis farmers, processors and retailers.
Last winter, County Commissioners passed what they called a “temporary opt-out” banning cannabis businesses in unincorporated portions of the County in order to buy them extra time to consider revisions to draft land use regulations proposed by the county planning commission. A 13-member marijuana advisory committee, which included four local cannabis business representatives along with other local farmers and rural residents, met from February through early April to develop recommendations that will be presented to the Commissioners on April 27.
“The committee reached consensus on many issues, including regulations to mitigate light, sound and odor from marijuana cultivation on land zoned for exclusive farm use,” said committee member Lindsey Pate, who produces award-winning medical cannabis on her small family farm near Terrebonne. “We want to be good neighbors and provide family wage jobs in rural Deschutes County. We embrace sensible regulations that protect the way of life we all treasure in Central Oregon. ”
County Commissioners will decide on May 4 whether to rescind their opt-out ordinance, or place the question on the November ballot.
“Deschutes County has conducted an extensive public process over the last nine months to develop its regulations,” Margolis said. “Today’s poll clearly shows that the last thing voters in Deschutes County want is to be forced into a costly and divisive ‘do-over’ on Measure 91. County Commissioners should move forward now to end the uncertainty for businesses and the community by putting regulations in place.”