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Recreational pot grows not allowed on some land

What are the definitive rules for growing marijuana on rural residential properties? We don't know much beyond tall fences and the 75-foot setback, which is ignored. Many people in rural residential zones grow pot, but some are getting very pushy, growing maybe 100 plants. Many strangers come and go. We neighbors keep quiet, mouths shut, eyes, noses and ears averted, fearing reprisal. Does the county have an answer?

— Rural residential homeowner

Recreational marijuana grows are not allowed on land zoned for rural residential use, according to Jackson County law.

Medical marijuana growers who were growing before the county adopted its marijuana ordinance in March 2016 can apply to be grandfathered in so they can continue growing. The permit application fee is $1,563.

Many medical marijuana growers on rural residential land are continuing to grow without applying for a permit. Jackson County will not hunt them down, but will respond to complaints by neighbors. The growers then need to apply for the permit or face enforcement action, including fines.

The Jackson County Board of Commissioners decided earlier this year not to adopt 75-foot setbacks on medical marijuana grows on rural residential land.

As for fences, the state requires that marijuana plants be shielded from public view. The county has additional regulations about the appearance of fences. For example, wooden fences are alright, but plastic sheeting and tarps are not.

The county standards and criteria regarding marijuana grows do not apply to personal recreational or medical marijuana plants allowed under state law. Generally, this equates to up to four recreational marijuana plants and up to six medical marijuana plants per property.

To find out the zone for a nearby grow, see web.jacksoncounty.org/pdo/.

Grows are allowed on exclusive farm use and forest zones in Jackson County as long as they are at least 250 feet from city limits.

Marijuana grows on industrial land are allowed if processing also takes place there. Pre-existing grows on industrial land can continue for three years, after which they must become compliant by adding processing or relocating.

For questions about whether a marijuana grow is allowed, or to apply for a medical marijuana grow permit in a rural residential zone, call Jackson County Development Services at 541-774-6907.

For complaints about illegal grows or activities, such as camping out next to a grow, call Jackson County Code Enforcement at 541-774-6906.

For aggressive or chronically barking dogs, call Jackson County Animal Services at 541-774-6655.

To report suspicions about criminal activity, call the Jackson County Sheriff's Office non-emergency line at 541-774-6800.

Call 911 in threatening or dangerous situations.

— Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. To see a collection of columns, go to mailtribune.com/youasked. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.