Editor's note: The print edition of this issue had a "NO" in the title. Because this measure asks voters to decide whether new additional marijuana businesses should be allowed in the county, our vote is YES.Is there anyone else out there that yearns for the return of a pro-business Republican party? Where have the champions of the invisible hand of the free market gone? They're certainly not sitting in the halls of the Deschutes County Board of Commissioners, where voters are being treated to another Phil Henderson and Patti Adair-concocted measure to cater to a micro-set of voters impacted by an agricultural product that they deem sinful.
This measure is the result of the very real and costly failures the county has suffered at the state level around marijuana and the very real prospect that continued efforts in this area will be deemed unconstitutional through litigation. To stop this, the commissioners need a local measure to stem their anti-business loss. The most amusing part of the measure is the idea that the commissioners are responding to rural voters who support the measure and say that these lawful agricultural operations are disturbing their way of life. This is a constituency of folks who live on rural land and as they piddle around with hobby farms, cost the county negative $25 million, by some estimates. While there may be some legitimate commercial interests here, for the most part these are lifestyle folks who wouldn't know the right end of a plow if it pushed them under. What's more, we suspect that a great many of those opposed to marijuana growing do not understand that much of the "pot" they are seeing in their communities is actually hemp—which is legal even by federal law these days.
The ultimate irony here is while Henderson is out campaigning this election on his expensive attempts to change land-use law around "non-prime farm lands" to development, he's backhanding the very industry that found a way to turn these non-prime lands to profit.
A "yes" vote on this means that new marijuana businesses can at least try to get new, legal, and law-abiding licenses approved, even while an anti-marijuana regime reigns in the halls of county government.
Vote YES on this senseless measure.