DON’T SMOKE THE MESSENGER: Find Your Next Date at a City Council Meeting
Local Activism for Marijuana Politics Heats up
As local governments scramble to adopt new measures and regulations to determine how marijuana growing and retailing will look in each city and county, citizens are rushing to participate. Recent city and county hearings seem to be the social highlight of the week these days. So many people are showing up that second hearings are being scheduled and extra rooms made available. Many attendees are growers, or involved with cannabis industry in one way or another; many who previously have not felt comfortable to stand up and identify themselves in order to lobby for their cause. But now that legalization gives them the opportunity, they are working to protect their rights to farm.
In fact, there are some of the same faces showing up to these meetings that fought so hard to ban GMOcrops in Jackson and Josephine counties. In addition to maintaining their right to farm, many are showing up to protect their rights to their medicine. Proposals, such as Jackson County’s to require 250 foot setbacks from property lines on land zoned rural residential for medical marijuana gardens, and outright banning recreational growing on these properties has resident growers in a panic. One of these patients is Sandy Diesel, who moved to Oregon so she could have safe access to cannabis in order to provide an alternative to the 70 pills a day—56 of them being opiates—that she had been prescribed after being permanently disabled by a car accident.
The county’s proposed setbacks would directly impact her ability to have access to her life saving medicine.“I go to these meetings not only to stay informed, but to educate these government officials. I believe it is their due diligence to make and educated and informed decision. They cannot do that without people like us showing up and telling our stories,” says Diesel.
Here are some upcoming events, with opportunities to have your voice heard:
Jackson County Board of Commissioners
January 6, 10 S Oakdale, Medford
On December 14 the Planning Commission made their recommendation that Jackson County ban licensed recreational growing on properties zones rural residential, and that a 250 feet setback be adhered to for medical marijuana gardens on rural residential properties.
Medford City Council
December 17, noon, 411 West 8th St, Medford
Two ordinances are before the city council to 1) put a 3 percent tax on the sale of medical marijuana 2) ban all recreational marijuana retailers. This will be a public hearing.
Ashland City Council
January 6, 7 pm, 1175 East Main St, Ashland
The council will present the results, worded for emergency adoption, of an ordinance that would limit four plants on residential properties, whether medical or recreational. Additionally, the city wants to require a 200 foot buffer between wholesale facilities and residential zones, and a 1000 foot separation between production and wholesale facilities.
Voters will have an opportunity to uphold or appeal a ban on all medical and recreational marijuana growing and business during the November 2016 election.