Marijuana Land Use Issues: Permitting, Policies and Procedures

Dec. 23, 2015

Mike McCallister, Clackamas County Planning Director

Following is some basic information about the implementation of marijuana regulations in Clackamas County.

For more information, please contact Planning and Zoning Division staff at 503-742-4500.

The Oregon Health Authority administers the medical marijuana program at the State level. The OHA does not require a LUCS for medical marijuana facilities at this time.

The County will review all marijuana applications for completeness in the order in which they were received. The date and time that a complete application is submitted to the County will be used for purposed of determining the priority of these permits. If an application is submitted and deemed incomplete by the County, the completeness date will be determined by the date and time that the required / requested information is submitted to the County.

All application materials (original application or subsequent information) for any marijuana facility shall be date and time stamped by the Planner at the front counter.

  1. Adoption and Effective Dates: The BCC adopted File No. ZDO-254 - Marijuana Land Uses on Thursday Dec. 17, 2015. The effective date of the ordinance is Monday, Jan. 4, 2016 for recreational marijuana regulations and March 1, 2016 for medical marijuana regulations (The different dates correspond to the effective dates in HB 3400).
  2. Appeal Date: The BCC decision is subject to a 21 day appeal period to the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA), which is Jan. 11, 2015. The County can accept and issue decisions on permits for marijuana facilities prior to the final appeal date. It is unlikely that the County will issue any permits or approvals prior to that date. In any case, the applicant assumes all risk associated with filing an application prior to the final appeal date and the outcome of any appeal.
  3. Land Use Compatibility Statements (LUCS): The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) administers the recreational marijuana program at the State level. The OLCC requires a LUCS from the County prior to issuance of a license for a marijuana facility. Clackamas County policy is to accept, but not sign off on any LUCS until such time as a Type I or II permit is submitted and approved by the County, or in cases where only a change of use / tenant improvement is required where the Planning Department has determined that the use is permitted. No LUCS shall be signed off over the counter. All LUCS shall be directed to Ben Blessing - Planner 1. Applicants are encouraged to include a LUCS with any land use application submitted to the County. The County will send a copy of the completed LUCS to the applicant with the land use decision.
  4. Land Use Applications: Land use applications subject to ZDO -254 may not be submitted until Jan. 4, 2016, the effective date of the ordinance. Most marijuana facilities will be reviewed through a Type I - Ministerial Procedures review process (Section 1307.08 of the ZDO). Applicants should anticipate a 14 day turnaround on Type I decisions (the review time may vary and will depend on the number of applications received) from the date of a complete application.
  5. Multiple Addresses on One Site for Recreational Marijuana Facilities: The County may receive requests for multiple addresses on a property in order to site more than one marijuana facility. All addressing questions should be directed to Linda May, Permit Specialist at 503-742-4515. In the case of requests for multiple addresses, a temporary / placeholder address may be assigned to the property which can be relied upon for purposes of submitting license applications to OLCC. The temporary address will become permanent upon submittal of a building permit application to the County for a marijuana facility.
  6. First Come - First Serve Policy: All marijuana applications will be reviewed on a "first come, first serve" basis. This policy becomes especially important when processing applications for marijuana retailing facilities and marijuana facilities in urban and rural industrial zoning districts. Marijuana retailing facilities are subject to buffer standards from schools, park and other similar marijuana retail facilities. Marijuana production, processing and wholesaling facilities, where allowed in urban and rural industrial zoning districts, are subject to a 20,000 square foot building limitation per lot of record.
  7. Medical Marijuana in Natural Resource Districts (EFU, AG/F and TBR): It is the County's position at this time that medical marijuana is NOT a qualifying farm use in Natural Resource Districts because it cannot be grown for a profit. Farm uses allowed in natural resource districts are those that are listed in ORS 215.203. "Farm use" in ORS 215.203 means the current employment of land for the primary purpose of obtaining a profit in money.
  8. Nonconforming Uses: Requests for verification of the legal status of an existing medical marijuana facility may be evaluated in one of two ways. A property owner may submit information to the County informally. The request shall be in writing and include information about the property (address, map and tax lot number), owner, how many plants are being grown, number of OMMP cards, indoor / outdoor grow, if buildings (indoor grow) are used the size of the building and whether permits (building, plumbing, electrical) have been obtained for the building. The County will evaluate that request informally and respond to the applicant accordingly. Alternatively, a property owner may submit a nonconforming use application (verification, alteration and / or expansion) which is evaluated through a Type II review process.

    Recreational marijuana facilities cannot be "grandfathered" because no facilities can be legally established until after Jan. 4, 2014 in compliance with the new regulations.