Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Marijuana isn’t a weed in Oregon

        

         Remember the anti-GMO ordinances that both Jackson and Josephine Counties passed?   Early in the process, our state legislature passed a bill, SB 863 (2013), which forbade local governments to enact or enforce any local measure or ordinance that would inhibit or prevent the production of agricultural items.  Jackson County voters were petitioning their ordinance for the ballot at the time, so it was exempted from the statute.  Josephine County, starting petitions after the law was passed, was not.
          Jackson County’s GMO ordinance was tested in court recently under the Freedom to Farm Act, and a judge upheld it, finding that there is no right to grow a crop that degrades your neighbor’s crop.  Hemp growers and their neighbors should take note.
          Josephine County’s anti-GMO measure has not been enforced nor challenged; it is of no effect, violating SB 863.
          NowGrants Pass City Council intends to ban outdoor growing of marijuana within thecity.  They voted for it once on July 1, with the second reading to be voted on July 15th.  Representative Carl Wilson had sent them a letter by email, warning them that they would risk a lawsuit under SB 863 if they passed it.  They ignored that part of the letter, and focused on his warnings about the problems that widespread indoor growing would cause our electrical grid and waste water treatment plant, some finding reasons there to ban pot growing entirely in the city.
          Marijuana is not a weed in Oregon anymore.  It is an agricultural item, legally grown to be used, and has been since medical marijuana was passed.  It has been a legal item in commerce since the legislature authorized dispensaries. 
          Grants Pass has the authority to inhibit or prevent the growth of weeds under its nuisance codes.  It hasn’t had the authority to stop or slow the production of agricultural items since SB 863 was passed. 
But we in Josephine County can thank Jackson County for inspiring SB 863 in 2013.  A lawsuit and injunction will be needed to enforce it if the Council passes their outdoor pot growing ban on July 15th

 Special July 2015 protest issue.

Rycke Brown, Natural Gardener          541-955-9040  rycke@gardener.com


SB 863 (2013) is ORS 633.738

Courtesy of Paul Loney, Attorney at Law:


633.738 Prohibition of local laws to inhibit or prevent production or use of seeds or products of seeds.
(1) As used in this section:

(a) “Local government” has the meaning given that term in ORS 174.116.

(b) “Nursery seed” means any propagant of nursery stock as defined
in ORS 571.005.

(2) Except as provided in subsection (3) of this section, a local government may not enact or enforce a local law or measure, including but not limited to an ordinance, regulation, control area
 or quarantine, to inhibit or prevent the production or use of agricultural seed, flower seed, nursery seed or vegetable seed or products of agricultural seed, flower seed, nursery seed or vegetable seed. The prohibition imposed by this subsection includes, but is not limited to, any local laws or measures for regulating the display, distribution, growing, harvesting, labeling, marketing, mixing, notification of use, planting, possession, processing, registration, storage, transportation or use of agricultural seed, flower seed, nursery seed or vegetable seed or products of agricultural seed, flower seed, nursery seed or vegetable seed.

(3) Subsection (2) of this section does not prohibit a local government from enacting or enforcing a local law or measure to inhibit or prevent the production or use of agricultural seed,
flower seed, nursery seed or vegetable seed or products of agricultural seed, flower seed, nursery seed or vegetable seed on property owned by the local government. [2013 s.s.1 c.4 §3]


Note: Section 4, chapter 4, Oregon Laws 2013 (first special session), provides:

Sec. 4. Section 3 (sic) of this 2013 special session Act [633.738] does not apply to any local measure that was:
(1) Proposed by initiative petition and, on or before January 31, 2013, qualified for placement on the ballot in a county; and (2) Approved by the electors of the county at an election held on May 20, 2014. [2013 s.s.1 c.4 §4]
                   
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Rycke Brown, Natural Gardener          541-955-9040        rycke@gardener.com

I suspect that Section 4 has a typo in referring to section 3 when it actually is supposed to apply to Section 2.  I found the same typo online at OregonLaws.org.