With perhaps thousands of illegal medical marijuana grows in rural residential zones, Jackson County is considering whether to designate them a nuisance — a move that could trigger enforcement action against growers.
The county adopted marijuana regulations in March 2016 that, coupled with a change in state law, made growing medical marijuana in rural residential zones illegal. Recreational marijuana grows had already been banned there. Rural residents are allowed to grow four plants for personal use and marijuana can be grown in large quantities on land zoned for agricultural use.
County officials said medical marijuana growers who had already been raising pot in those zones could apply to be grandfathered in by seeking a pre-existing, nonconforming use permit.
But planning staff have been denying the applications, triggering a wave of appeals before county hearings officers.
With the county receiving complaints from neighbors about grows, Development Services Director Kelly Madding recommended the county consider declaring medical marijuana grows on rural residential land a nuisance.
This week, the Jackson County Board of Commissioners directed staff members to research the pros and cons of such a move.
Madding said the county could potentially be flooded with hundreds or thousands of pre-existing nonconforming use permit applications from growers — with the numbers likely in the thousands.
Marijuana proponents have estimated there are thousands of grows in Jackson County, although not all are on rural residential land.
The county has 816,000 acres that…
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