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Grower asks council to forgive fines

A 46-year-old Medford resident pleaded with the Medford City Council Thursday to overlook his violation of the four-plant marijuana limit in residential areas.

"As of Tuesday, I've been fined four times at $250 each," Jason Osborne said. "All I get is citations."

Osborne waved the citations in the air and asked the council to forgive the $1,000 fine and announced he's hired a lawyer to represent him.

Mayor Gary Wheeler said that since Osborne has an attorney, the council couldn't comment on his situation because it has become a legal issue.

Medford police Sgt. Don Lane said code enforcement officers had issued citations on four different dates because of an offensive odor complaint in addition to the number of allowable plants.

Code enforcement officers counted 14 plants initially, and then more recently they found eight plants. The city allows four plants per dwelling, Lane said.

"He's failing to comply with the municipal code," Lane said.

Osborne, who lives on semi-rural Sunset Drive near South Medford High School with his wife, Racheal, said state law allows him to grow more than four plants for medical reasons.

Oregon law allows 12 mature plants for medical-marijuana cardholders in residential areas and four plants for recreational purposes.

He urged the council to wait until Nov. 8 when Medford voters will decide whether they want to ban outdoor grows completely.

Osborne moved into the formerly abandoned house five years ago and cleaned it up. The couple have grown marijuana most of the time, but this is the first year a neighbor has complained, Osborne said. They were growing some of the plants for a medical marijuana patient in Klamath Falls, he said.

The owner of the property died recently, so Osborne said he has 60 days to move. He said he likely will move out to the country.

Even if voters reject a ban on outdoor cannabis grow sites in Medford, the city's current limit of four plants could remain in effect.

According to the Oregon Public Health Division, 1,942 medical marijuana grow sites have a Medford ZIP Code out of the 6,070 licensed grow sites in Jackson County.

— Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com. Follow him on www.twitter.com/reporterdm.