Holli Morton’s letter to Commissioner’s regarding ORDINANCE No. 2021-002

This is the letter your Chair, Holli Morton – Josephine County Republican Party sent to our Commissioners today to follow up on the earlier email you received regarding ORDINANCE No. 2021-002. Please write your own letter and send it to our commissioners.

Darin Fowler dfowler@josephinecounty.gov
Daniel DeYoung ddeyoung@josephinecounty.gov
Herman Baertschiger hbaertschiger@josephinecounty.gov

Candy Kaisera
Chair Communications
Josephine County Republican Party
www.jocogop.org – https://jocogop.org/before-the-board-of-county-commissioners-for-josephine-county/

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August 31, 2021
 
Re:  2021 – 002
 
To the County Commissioners:
  
Considering the many problems that have been invited upon our county, by the marijuana industry, I can easily see what you are attempting to do; however, this ordinance is akin to using a Gatling gun to swat flies.  It provides far-reaching power, which has the potential to violate property and privacy rights.  This is a road we don’t want to go down without clear goals and significant limitations.
 
We need to start by carefully articulating the problems that we are trying to avoid. The marijuana industry has done exactly what many of us warned about.  It has brought a criminal element, illegal workers, unpermitted buildings and dwellings, sullied and diminished our water supply, interfered with the pleasant lifestyle of county citizens, and generally brought more harm than good.
 
Next, we need to focus on goals. What are we trying to accomplish with an ordinance and what are the potential consequences?  We don’t want to overstep our original objectives.  This ordinance needs a great deal of work and deliberation.  The current work product is unacceptably broad.
 
We need a system of accountability.  The proposed ordinance gives significant power to a small group, which will certainly lead to problems down the road.  Perhaps complaints need a system of checks and balances between the planners and public safety to make sure we remain mindful of landowner rights.
 
The fact of the matter is that we have invited this mess upon ourselves by being naïve and short-sighted about the marijuana industry.  It can be an unsightly, smelly, and even dangerous business.  There is no need to compound existing problems by potentially violating the rights of our local citizens.  We may need to recognize that the marijuana industry was a failed experiment that has become a blight on our county.  We hoped that it would be a revenue source, but the criminal element that controls many grows does not play fairly with law enforcement nor fellow citizens and certainly does not pay its fair share of taxes; as it is largely an under-the-table, cash business.  It is labor-intensive; however, workers often live in unsanitary conditions, are not insured nor legally compensated.  The industry places a significant burden on land and water resources.  And there is a question about where most of the cash goes.  We have cartels forming throughout the county which will ultimately lead to conflict.  Creating an ordinance that has the potential of violating the rights of county citizens is not the direction we need to go.
 
My suggestion is that we scrap this ordinance (2001-002) today and start over with a more cogent and focused plan.
 
Thank you for your attention to this significant concern.
 
Yours in Liberty
 
Holli Morton
Chair, Josephine County Republican Party