Skip to Content

Deschutes County may put hold on cannabis growers


Rural Oregon is known for its farms. Between horse ranches and hay farms, there is a new game in town now.

“At the end of the day, we’re just growing a product like anybody else out here,” Ralf Dilzer, who grows medical cannabis, said Friday.

Measure 91 legalized the recreational use of the plant. Starting Oct. 1, medical dispensaries will be allowed to sell recreational marijuana as well.

All that cannabis has to be grown somewhere.

“(People are) proposing to invest large dollars to create large commercial growing operations,” said Deschutes County Commissioner Tony DeBone.

Now county commissioners are thinking about implementing a moratorium on large-scale growing operations.

“Is that a good fit for our rural communities? How are we going to implement that in our zoning, our land use, our land-use department, our sheriff’s department? We don’t have any rules around that,” DeBone said.

About 60 people attended a meeting on Thursday evening in Alfalfa about the future of cannabis in rural communities.

There was plenty of debate, though on Friday, nobody in the community wanted to talk to NewsChannel 21 on camera.

Marijuana-grow opponents told us they are worried that growing facilities could lower property values in the area. Supporters said cannabis farms could bring jobs and growth.

“Oh, I don’t think there was that much push-back (at the meeting),” Dilzer said. “I think it was 50-50. A lot of the people there just wanted to go to get educated about what’s going on.”

If a ban goes through, Dilzer would have to shut down the farm he opened just four months ago.

“It’s like any other farmer,” Dilzer said. “You put your heart and soul into it, and you do what you can to get the little seeds to grow and reap the rewards down the road. It would be the same for the hay farmer. He would have the same feeling we would have.”

The idea of a moratorium on commercial marijuana grows is only in the discussion phase, as is the idea of going to county voters in November of 2016 with proposed rules to implement portions of Measure 91.

The moratorium and vote are allowed under a new state law passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor last month.

First, county commissioners want to hear from the community. They’re holding a public hearing to gather input on Wednesday, Aug. 12 at 10 a.m. at the commissioners’ meeting room, at 1300 NW Wall Street in Bend.

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

KTVZ News Team


KTVZ NewsChannel 21 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content