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Where the Green Grass Grows

How local control shapes the marijuana industry
Jason Boyer of wild west growers. Photo by Todd Cooper.
Jason Boyer of wild west growers. Photo by Todd Cooper.

When Oregon legalized recreational marijuana in 2015, the state Legislature gave counties and cities the responsibility of setting standards for the industry. Local governments can restrict where and how marijuana can be grown and sold, or choose to opt out of the recreational weed market completely.

Local control gives communities the power to shape the growing industry, but also places a burden on the agencies that manage land and water use decisions and deal with disputes between neighbors.

 

Local Control 

Statewide, 77 cities have prohibited recreational marijuana, including Coburg, Creswell and Junction City in Lane County. Of the 36 counties in Oregon, 16 have decided to not allow marijuana production. A Eugene attorney seeking to sell marijuana in Creswell is seeking to challenge that city’s decisions (see “Pot Petition,” EW July 27).

Jackson, Josephine, Lane and Clackamas counties account for nearly 60 percent of the recreational grow applications in the state. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) is in charge of the recreational marijuana permitting program. Jackson and Josephine counties have the highest totals because the climate in southern Oregon is ideal for marijuana cultivation and because there is a history of growing in the area.

Lane County has the third-most producer applications, at 211. According to OLCC documents, 93 of the 211 applications for marijuana production in Lane County have been approved. The remaining 118 are either in the process of being reviewed, not yet assigned to an investigator or lack local land use approval.

OLCC documents show there are more producer licenses awaiting review or not yet assigned to an investigator than there are approved licenses. A major influx of applications is stretching OLCC’s ability to manage the program.

Jason Boyer, an owner and administrator of Wild West Growers in Eugene, says producers often don’t realize how lengthy the licensing process can be. He says it takes between two and six months to be assigned an OLCC inspector.

Boyer says it’s important that growers meet permit requirements, including 8-foot high fences, security plans and surveillance systems, before inspectors come.

“You need to look ahead and have your growing system ready,” Boyer says. He knows growers who didn’t get their licenses on time and lost out on valuable growth for their plants.

To be a large-scale professional producer “people need to know the actual expense,” Boyer says. Entry into the statewide recreational marijuana production business requires an initial investment of at least $250,000 to set up a successful grow that meets OLCC and local compliance standards, he says.

Rob Bovett, legal counsel for the Association of Oregon Counties, says that because land use law in Oregon is implemented on a county-by-county basis, there’s little consistency for recreational growers.

“If you’ve seen one county’s land use plan, you’ve seen just that — one plan,” Bovett says.

In Lane County, growing marijuana is allowed without additional land use permits on forest and agricultural land and with additional provisions in industrial and residential commercial zones.

Proponents of the industry would like to see recreational grows permitted in rural residential zones because those lands are generally available in smaller parcel sizes than forest and farmland.

But rural residents have raised concerns that having the cash-dominated businesses in their neighborhoods could contribute to crime and that heavy summer water demand for the crop could tax already overworked wells.

According to Lane County spokesperson Devon Ashbridge, the county has seen an estimated 20 percent increase in questions to land managers regarding marijuana since legalization. The county has also seen an increase in marijuana related land use complaints.

Unlike Lane County, Eugene treats marijuana businesses like any other commercial, industrial or agricultural enterprise. Boyer of Wild West Growers says the city has been helpful and responsive in the permitting and inspections process.

In Jackson County, which has the highest number of OLCC permit applications, recreational marijuana grows are allowed on 94 percent of privately owned lands in a county with notoriously little police and public services. Like Lane County, Jackson County does not allow recreational marijuana grows in rural residential areas.

Josephine County, which has the second most OLCC recreational applications, allows recreational production in rural residential zones.

Differences in county rules fit the law’s intent to allow local control, according to Rob Bovett. As part of his work for AOC, he has lobbied for counties to keep local control and options. Bovett sees the current laws as an effective way of maintaining decision-making authority in local hands.

Corinne Celko, a lawyer with the Emerge Law Group in Portland, says implementing the new system has been difficult because there are different and at times conflicting laws and regulations, from the federal government all the way down to counties and cities.

She says local planning and building divisions, which in many cases are already stretched thin in terms of resources, have a difficult time sorting out the rules that govern the fledgling industry. How best to regulate and permit legalized marijuana businesses is “a novel question that’s not easily answered for the growing industry,” Celko says.

 

Water for Weed

The budding industry has also increased the workload for the Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD), which must certify that growers have legal water rights under the OLCC licensing process. From 2015 to 2016 groundwater applications in the Rogue Basin of southern Oregon more than doubled.

Racquel Rancier, the senior policy coordinator for OWRD, says the laws that govern water access aren’t different for marijuana than any other crop.

“The water rights process is a public process,” Rancier says. Considerations for granting water permits include impacts on existing water users and making sure the process offers multiple avenues for public comment and objections from neighboring water users.

The rapid growth of the industry, especially in southern Oregon, has led “to an increase in complaints and concerns from neighbors about water use,” Rancier says. 

 

Be a Good NeighBor

Opponents of legalization and neighbors unhappy about the skunky crop growing next door have brought several legal cases against recreational marijuana growers.

In Clackamas County, landowners are bringing racketeering charges against neighboring growers aimed at enforcing federal RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) laws. Vineyard owners in Yamhill County have sought to block a neighboring weed grow over complaints about the scent tainting their grapes (See “Into the Weeds with Wine,” EW July 13).

These complaints come against a backdrop of increased federal scrutiny of legalized marijuana by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Of particular concern to Sessions is an Oregon State Police report that pointed out that the state was over-producing marijuana and contributing to the black market in other states.

Despite the multiple hoops growers have to jump through, and the somewhat shaky legal ground they grow on, the marijuana business is booming in Oregon. In the 2016 to 2017 fiscal year, the industry contributed more than $70 million in taxes to state coffers.

The greatest obstacle recreational growers face likely isn't a law but rather their relationships with neighbors.

Lawyer Celko says the most important advice she can give to clients is “to be active in your local government rule-making process and to become involved in the community in which you desire to do business.”

 

 

 

 

Lane County Marijuana Business Licenses Approved as of 8/4/2017 Data from the OLCC 

For the state list go to: http://www.oregon.gov/olcc/marijuana/Documents/MarijuanaLicenses_approved.pdf

 

License number, Licensee name, business type. • indicates fees not yet paid

 

020 10000369BE0 New Breed Seed, LLC New Breed Seed Recreational Producer 

020 100004352B3 Phoenix Group LLC The Original Grape Company Recreational Producer 

030 100006021DE Phoenix Group LLC Original Grape Company Recreational Processor  •

030 1000096CBB6 Willamette Valley Alchemy Willamette Valley Alchemy Recreational Processor 

020 100011981A9 Wilvaca LLC Rebel Spirit Recreational Producer 

020 10001731C6B NorthWest HomeGrown NorthWest HomeGrown Recreational Producer 

030 1000177E22F Wild West G Inc. Wild West Growers Recreational Processor 

020 100018496E7 Essential Farms, LLC Cannassentials Recreational Producer 

050 10001875013 The Growers Guild Gardens Corporation Sproutly Recreational Retailer 

020 100025220D2 Natures Meds Farm LLC Natures Meds Farm Recreational Producer 

050 10002659379 Emerald City Medicinal Delivery Service, LLC Emerald City Medicinal Recreational Retailer 

1000268DABA Happy Farm LLC Happy Farm Recreational Producer 

050 1000298EC21 Rosebuds Bakery LLC DBA Terpene Station Terpene Station Recreational Retailer 

050 1000345DEA9 NoDak Enterprises, LLC NoDak Green Prairie Recreational Retailer 

050 100035555F6 The Herbal Centre LLC The Herbal Connection Recreational Retailer 

020 1000366F55B Oregon Country Gardens LLC Oregon Country Cannabis Recreational Producer 

050 1000393A41C Mid-Valley Patient Resource Center Corporation Mid Valley Cannabis Recreational Retailer 

020 10003950A3A Wild West G Inc. Wild West Growers Recreational Producer 

020 100040215B0 Wild West G Inc. Wild West Growers Recreational Producer 

050 10004429B31 Simplee Green LLC Oregon's Green Rush Recreational Retailer 

020 1000470C581 Growers Guild Farm Corporation Growers Guild Farm Corporation Recreational Producer 

020 1000484ADD9 JDK HOLDINGS, LLC Winberry Farms Recreational Producer 

020 1000509B8C9 Emerald Valley Growers, LLC Emerald Valley Growers Recreational Producer 

020 1000540046C Winds of Change, LLC Winds of Change Recreational Producer 

020 100054947B3 Westside Enterprises, LLC Chilly's Garden Recreational Producer 

020 1000590CF15 MPSC enterprises LLC Herban Tribe Recreational Producer 

020 1000602D532 Prairie Song Organics LLC Herb N' Sprawl Recreational Producer 

050 10006222890 The Holistic Coop LLC The Holistic Coop LLC Recreational Retailer 

050 1000628466D Amazon Organics LLC Amazon Organics Recreational Retailer 

050 100066171A3 Hermes Strategies Inc. Terrapin Care Station Recreational Retailer 

020 100067735B6 Vessel Farms, Inc Vessel Farms Recreational Producer 

020 10007095D66 Compassionate Circles LLC Genesis Pharms Recreational Producer 

020 10007167FC2 Topshelf Garden Centre, LLC Head Stash Horticulture Recreational Producer 

050 100075324C6 Sweet Leaf Cannabis LLC Sweet Leaf Cannabis LLC. Recreational Retailer 

050 1000788C835 Next Level Health llc. Nextlevel Wellness Recreational Retailer 

020 1000814825E Ward's Organic Weed W.O.W. Recreational Producer 

020 10008614BBE Cloudy Farms, LLC Itchy Ribs Recreational Producer 

020 1000891310A Bear Mountain Greenery Bear Mountain Greenery Recreational Producer 

020 1000902EC45 ZenLion Growlights LLC ZenLion Recreational Producer 

050 1000929AF4B Oregon's Herbal Remedies LLC Oregon's Herbal Remedies Recreational Retailer 

020 1000948748D OGX, LLC Vibrant Highs Recreational Producer 

050 1000954D8AD Eugene OG, LLC Eugene OG Recreational Retailer 

050 10009611DA7 Jamaica Joels Inc Jamaica Joel's Recreational Retailer 

020 10009908AAB Kings Cannabis, Inc. Kings Cannabis Recreational Producer 

050 10010004FFE Hi Cascade #3, LLC Hi Cascade Recreational Retailer 

050 10010073418 Good Karma Springfield, LLC Good Karma Recreational Retailer 

050 10010193FDD Cannabis, LLC Cannabis, LLC Recreational Retailer 

020 1001027E404 Green Acers Farm, LLC Green Acers Farm, LLC Recreational Producer 

050 1001084EC49 Apothecaria LLC Apothecaria Recreational Retailer 

020 10011320175 GNT Organic Farm, LLC G n T Organic Farm Recreational Producer 

020 1001187C32C STB Enterprises LLC SugarTop Buddery Recreational Producer 

020 1001242726F Eugreen Organics LLC Eugreen Horticulture Recreational Producer 

020 1001264ED0D Oregon Cannabis Authority, LLC Oregon Cannabis Authority Recreational Producer 

030 10012909267 Green Wave Organics, Inc. GWO Recreational Processor 

050 1001295324F GW Retail W. 11th INC Serra Eugene Recreational Retailer 

020 1001306E59E Eugenius Eugenius Recreational Producer 

030 1001338114B Sublime Solutions, LLC Sublime Solutions, LLC Recreational Processor 

050 1001389C2FA Urban Medicinal LLC Green Health Associates Recreational Retailer 

020 100157052DB CannaFlo Farms LLC CannaFlo Farms Recreational Producer 

020 1001620A2D4 Ceremony House Plants & Flowers Ceremony House Plants & Flowers Recreational Producer 

030 1001732C2B6 Westside Enterprises, LLC Chilly's Garden Recreational Processor 

020 1001748D978 WRD Investments Kush Farms Recreational Producer 

020 1001820611C Emerald Wave Estate LLC Emerald Wave Estate Recreational Producer 

020 1001821AF84 BBJM, LLC BBJM Recreational Producer 

020 1001903B892 Unity Alliance Investment LLC Green World Plantations Investments Recreational Producer 

050 1001915EA16 420 Blair Blvd LLC Twenty After Four Wellness Center Recreational Retailer 

030 10019884EAA OGX, LLC Vibrant Highs Recreational Processor 

020 100199419EB Mother Magnolia Medicinals, Inc. Mother Magnolia Medicinals, Inc. Recreational Producer 

030 10020621CD8 Proco LLC Evolvd Recreational Processor 

020 10020822989 OCG Management LLC Green Tractor Recreational Producer 

010 1002158CD2E Iron Lab Oregon LLC IRON Laboratories Laboratory 

020 10022352D81 Heavy Lids LLC Heavy Lids Recreational Producer 

050 10022591FE3 Glassroots, LLC Glassroots Recreational Retailer 

020 10022776E56 Penter LLC Penter LLC Recreational Producer •

 020 10023023AAD Fox Hollow Flora, LLC Fox Hollow Flora Recreational Producer 

020 1002323C138 Silver Leaf Meadows Inc Silver Leaf Meadows Recreational Producer 

030 10023509C9D Full Circle Extraction Co., LLC Full Circle CO2 Recreational Processor 

020 10023654D83 MJ Pharms LLC MJ Pharms LLC Recreational Producer 

050 1002427235E Kind Care, LLC TJ's Provisions Recreational Retailer 

050 100244446EC JV Retail 2 LLC TJ's On The Alley Recreational Retailer 

020 1002447B70D Whiskey Creek Cannabis, LLC Whiskey Creek Cannabis Recreational Producer 

020 10024772316 1991 LLC 1991 Recreational Producer 

050 1002566EF10 The Medication Station, Inc. The Medication Station Recreational Retailer 

020 1002606CBF4 Strong Roots LLC Strong Roots Recreational Producer 

050 1002612F763 EHC Holdings LLC Eugreen Health Center Recreational Retailer 

020 10026397BC5 VISION ORGANICS LLC VISION ORGANICS Recreational Producer 

050 1002683515A La Mota 9 LLC La Mota Recreational Retailer 

020 100273799E9 Grohill Produce LLC Grohi Farms Recreational Producer 

020 1002753E9E4 CNH Labs, LLC CNH Labs, LLC Recreational Producer 

020 1002764A8A0 Kindlove LLC Bliss Cannabis Recreational Producer 

010 1002766BA93 Oregon Growers Analytical, LLC OG Analytical Laboratory 

050 10027689736 FLOWR OF LYFE LLC FLOWR OF LYFE Recreational Retailer 

050 10027870140 BUDS4U, LLC Buds 4 U Recreational Retailer 

050 1002850B56E BUDS4U LLC Buds 4 U Recreational Retailer 

050 10028857D5D AC Eugene LLC Apothca Recreational Retailer 

060 100301304FE Cascade Cannabis Distributing, LLC Cascade Cannabis Distributing, LLC Recreational Wholesaler 

060 10030945588 Sublime Solutions, LLC Sublime Solutions, LLC Recreational Wholesaler 

050 1003141C1C9 Lekcinton LLC MOOD Recreational Retailer 

060 100316197B6 Wild West G Inc. Wild West G Inc. Recreational Wholesaler 

050 10032186336 New Riderz, LLC The Greener Side Recreational Retailer 

020 100324738FC Jonathan Mahody/Lisa Mahody McKenzie Green Farms Recreational Producer 

020 1003277ECA1 Theron Spiek Green Butte Farms Recreational Producer 

050 1003305612E Nectar Markets, LLC Nectar Recreational Retailer 

030 100331855FF JV Extraction LLC Craft Extracts Recreational Processor 

030 10033219048 JV Foods LLC Cannavore Recreational Processor 

060 1003324579F JV Wholesale LLC Reefer Distribution Recreational Wholesaler 

050 10033843C8C Elev8 Cannabis LLC Elev8 Cannabis Recreational Retailer 

020 10034205FC0 Sugar Shack Farms LLC Sugar Shack Farms Recreational Producer 

050 10034717686 C&T Consulting, Inc Hwy 99 Cannabis, Co. Recreational Retailer 

050 10034791408 Mandy's Sugar Shack INC Mandy's Sugar Shack Recreational Retailer 

020 1003481400B Thermal Farms, LLC Thermal Farms, LLC Recreational Producer 

020 1003515C975 Illuminati Medicinals, LLC Illuminati Recreational Producer 

020 10035413FB6 Flowersmith LLC Flowersmith Recreational Producer 

020 10035688EFF DS Growth Systems, LLC OMG Oregon Medicinal Growers Recreational Producer 

020 10035920B10 Lovelife Farms, LLC Lovelife Farms LLC Recreational Producer 

020 10036398DA1 CBDiscovery LLC Royal Tree Recreational Producer 

030 1003640E36D CBDiscovery LLC Royal Tree Recreational Processor 

020 100370882FA Inspired Farm LLC Coyote Creek Cannabis Recreational Producer 

050 1003784CB46 Frequent Vibrationz LLC Frequent Vibrationz Recreational Retailer 

050 100386665E6 Moss Crossing LLC MOSS CROSSING Recreational Retailer 

030 10038705A8A BG Oregon, LLC KUSA Recreational Processor 

030 1003890E80E HiTrust Connection Co HiTrust Connection Co Recreational Processor 

020 1003903AB1B West Coast Family Farms, LLC Burning Bush Organics Recreational Producer 

020 1004055DFA4 Water Dog Farm LLC Water Dog Farm LLC Recreational Producer 

030 100405867C6 MF Botanicals LLC Medicine Farm Botanicals Recreational Processor 

060 10041438CDF The Eris Group, LLC GreenSea Distribution Recreational Wholesaler 

050 1004151A29E East 11th Inc Cannabliss & Co. Recreational Retailer 

050 1004152E8C9 HSCP Oregon LLC Cannabliss & Co. Recreational Retailer 

050 10042166E81 Sweet Tree Farms INC Sweet Tree Farms Recreational Retailer 

050 10042198EA5 Kindlove LLC Mary Jane's Pot Shop Recreational Retailer 

050 10042202E30 Kindlove LLC Mary Jane's Pot Shop Recreational Retailer 

020 1004249978A R2JK Management Company LLC Solace Meds of Oregon Recreational Producer 

060 1004254E6F5 Nectar Markets, LLC Nectar Recreational Wholesaler 

050 1004297C917 Solutions of the Millennium LLC Solutions of the Millennium LLC Recreational Retailer • 

020 1004324F267 Millennium farms corp Millennium Farms Recreational Producer 

020 1004370035C Sunstone Marketing Partners, LLC Sunstone Farms Recreational Producer 

060 1004387FF56 Wilvaca LLC Uncle Mark's Farm/Rebel Spirit Cannabis Company Recreational Wholesaler 

050 1004401300E JSP Enterprises LLC WildFlower PNW Recreational Retailer 

050 1004468CD55 Nature's Emporium LLC Hush Recreational Retailer 

050 100451067E4 River Valley Remedies LLC River Valley Remedies Recreational Retailer 

030 1004512A8DF Sunstone Marketing Partners, LLC Sunstone Farms\Sunstone Extracts Recreational Processor 

030 1004533BC98 Critical Source LLC Critical Source Recreational Processor 

060 10045479516 Nature's Emporium LLC Nature's Emporium Wholesale Recreational Wholesaler 

050 1004629B74F Star Leaf Cannabis Inc. Star Leaf Cannabis Recreational Retailer 

020 1004634A544 JD541, LLC High Prophets Farms Recreational Producer 

050 1004664909E Rare Earth Dispensary LLC Rare Earth Organics LLC Recreational Retailer 

020 1004679A790 Creswell Oreganics, LLC Creswell Oreganics Recreational Producer 

020 1004698759B JT Delange LLC Urban Canna Recreational Producer 

050 10047072831 EHC Holdings LLC Eugreen Health Center Recreational Retailer 

050 1004716B1DB Phresh Start LLC Phresh Start LLC Recreational Retailer 

020 1004720BD86 MN Buds LLC Mohawk River Buds Recreational Producer 

020 1004753BF7B Babylon Gardens, Inc. Babylon Gardens Recreational Producer 

030 1004754311D Compassionate Circles LLC Genesis Pharms Recreational Processor 

050 1004836D851 BUDS LLC BUDS LLC Recreational Retailer 

020 1004866FCD1 Sol Invictus, Inc. Sol Invictus INC Recreational Producer 

050 10049099B7C nv oakridge llc Green Oaks Recreational Retailer 

050 10049104CFE The People's Wellness Center The People's Wellness Center Recreational Retailer 

050 1004923B1AA Premier Concepts, LLC Deep Roots Cannabis Recreational Retailer 

030 100498564E5 MPSC Industries, LLC Herban Tribe Recreational Processor 

060 1004986905A MPSC Industries, LLC Boxcar Logistics Recreational Wholesaler 

020 1004989B25E Fareway Farms Corp. Fareway Farms Recreational Producer 

050 1005198E38C Canna Royal, Inc Canna Royal, Inc Recreational Retailer 

050 10052557A5E Premium Choice Medical Marijuana LLC Premium Choice Marijuana Recreational Retailer 

050 10052749F88 Cannapro, LLC Cannablaze Recreational Retailer 

050 1005282230C K9 Chronic LLC K9 Chronic LLC Recreational Retailer 

050 1005305255D MCQ Works LLC abn Grasslands Dispensary Grasslands Dispensary Recreational Retailer 

020 10053325609 Finn Creek Farms, LLC Finn Creek Farms Recreational Producer 

050 100533998C9 Sweet Leaf Cannabis of Eugene LLC Sweet Leaf Cannabis Recreational Retailer 

050 100536953E1 Oregon Medigreen Oregon Medigreen Recreational Retailer 

050 1005396F372 Grateful Meds Springfield LLC Grateful Meds Recreational Retailer 

020 1005446B180 Cannapro, LLC Cannagro Recreational Producer 

030 1005452B5B4 Cannapro, LLC Cannapro Recreational Processor 

020 1005513C4B9 Pharmfresh LLC Pharmfresh Flowers Recreational Producer 

020 1005583587E McNamara Farms, LLC McNamara Farms Recreational Producer 

050 100563326BA Mid-Valley Patient Resource Center Corporation Mid Valley Cannabis Recreational Retailer 

020 1005642FFAB Phillips Field Facility LLC Phillips Field Facility Recreational Producer 

020 10056831C95 Mothership Enterprises LLC Mothership Growers Recreational Producer 

020 1005685A84D SMW Agriculture LLC. Ripped City Recreational Producer 

050 100569155C6 Springfield Retail LLC Hi Cascade Recreational Retailer 

020 10057081AA2 Waine Industries, LLC Waine Industries, LLC Recreational Producer 

050 100580873A9 Eagle 5 Enterprises Inc. SpaceBuds Recreational Retailer 

020 10058277711 Atmos Farm Incorporated Atmos Farms Incorporated Recreational Producer 

020 10059262C66 Firehorse Trading Co., LLC/JACK A. LEASE/DANA F. WESTPHAL Firehorse Growers Recreational Producer 

020 10059810BCC DBR Ventures,LLC DBR Ventures LLC Recreational Producer 

050 100608721B5 Harvest Moon Essentials Inc Harvest Moon Cannabis Recreational Retailer 

060 1006104BE87 JDK HOLDINGS, LLC Winberry Farms Wholesale Recreational Wholesaler 

020 10062507618 Knot Head Farm LLC Knot Head Farm LLC Recreational Producer 

020 10063138335 Buddafly Farms LLC Buddafly Farms Recreational Producer 

020 10063403748 Northwest OG, LLC Northwest OG Recreational Producer 

020 1006508EE6B Oregon's Top Shelf, LLC Oregon's Top Shelf Recreational Producer 

030 1006626565C Oregon Essentials, LLC White Label Extracts Recreational Processor 

020 1006693026C Rare Earth Dispensary LLC Rare Earth Organics Recreational Producer 

020 10067603207 Placido Investments LLC NakD Farms Recreational Producer 

020 10069798E0F JAR Industries, LLC Revel Farms Recreational Producer 

020 100698226E4 Cottage Grove Holdings, LLC NakD Farms Recreational Producer