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City and County consider marijuana regulations 


Following last week's public hearings, the Deschutes County Commission has decided not to opt out of allowing marijuana-related businesses in the unincorporated county, and will instead discuss regulatory options further at its September meeting. While an opt out could re-emerge, commissioners say they hope to find a middle ground between the needs of the growing industry and the concerns of neighbors.

The Bend City Council also continues its conversation about marijuana regulation at its meeting Wednesday with a work session review of a publication put out by the League of Oregon Cities. The document details the law, recent legislative changes, and the options cities have to exercise local control over the implementation of the new law. It includes an overview of home rule, opt-out options, and tax opportunities.

In a joint letter sent to Bend City Council on Tuesday, Bend 2030 and the Central Oregon Builders' Association asked Council to consider street funding options beyond a gas tax.

"Our organizations wish to show the community the full range of solutions we may consider for addressing transportation needs, which could include no new road funding, budget re-appropriation for street preservation, or generating new revenue streams through a transportation utility fee or a fuel tax," the letter read.

At the August 5 Council meeting, four City Councilors voted in support of putting a gas tax on the March ballot and took the statement a step further by removing the requirement for the funding committee to consider a tax-free funding package. Following those actions, which were decried by the three dissenting councilors (Doug Knight, Casey Roats, and Victor Chudowsky), some groups that had been slated to participate in the process either pulled out or are re-evaluating their participation.

Bend 2030 Executive Director Erin Foote-Marlowe says the letter is not an ultimatum, and that the organization plans to participate whether or not Council honors the request.

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