So, here is a map. It shows Oregon cities and counties that have banned licensed recreational marijuana facilities. If you prefer an actual hit list of the opt-out counties and cities, you can find the OLCC compilation here. For a primer on how Oregon’s opt-out program works, please see our coverage here, here, here, here and here.
As a general refresher, the basic concept is that an Oregon city or county can opt out of nearly all recreational pot activity by administrative fiat if the city or county voted 55% or more against Measure 91, Oregon’s recreational marijuana initiative. If the city or county voted less than 55% against Measure 91, or for the Measure, it can adopt an opt-out ordinance which will only stand if approved through a local vote. (Those votes must be taken in the next statewide election, this November). Finally, if a county opts out, that action does not apply to its “incorporated” cities, and vice versa. For example, in the map above, Deschutes County is currently opted out, but its largest city, Bend, is not shown because Bend allows recreational marijuana operators.
We are publishing this map today because after the recent passage of HB 4014, abolishing residency requirements, phone calls and emails have been coming in from out-of-state and international investors asking exactly where the Oregon marijuana program is viable. As you can see, with the exception of Douglas and Linn counties, recreational marijuana activities are mostly allowed in the non-blacked-out areas west of the Cascades. The eastern counties will keep their pot smokers, but apparently do not want tax revenues from pot businesses.
Though most out-of-staters are more interested in the recreational market than Oregon’s medical program, we should also note that local jurisdictions can also ban medical marijuana processors and dispensaries, unless those establishments meet certain grandfathering requirements. The law is silent on whether a city or county can ban medical marijuana growers from operating, and we are dealing with that issue now. A few especially undemocratic locales, like the city of Fairview, have adopted questionable ordinances banning medical grows even though their local populations voted for Measure 91.
The good news is that though much of Oregon is blacked out geographically, the blacked out areas are far less populated than the viable locales. Also, most non-opt-out cities and counties have taken an even-handed approach to zoning and “time place and manner” rules that govern pot businesses. Following the November elections, and as significant marijuana tax revenues continue to roll in, we expect this map will lighten up a bit. Stay tune for that. For now, stay mostly west.