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Law Professionals, Farmers Weigh In On Marijuana Lawsuit

The legal battle is heating up between Josephine County and the State of Oregon over marijuana regulations. Now law professionals are weighing in on how the lawsuit could play out in District Court.

Posted: Apr. 5, 2018 6:32 PM
Updated: Apr. 5, 2018 6:37 PM

JOSEPHINE COUNTY, Ore. -- The legal battle is heating up between Josephine County and the State of Oregon over marijuana regulations. Now law professionals are weighing in on how the lawsuit could play out in District Court.

Tung Yin, Law Professor at Lewis And Clark Law School, said it seems that the lawsuit is about finding balance between state and local governments.

"I think that's what this lawsuit is really about, which is how much of marijuana policy should be decided by the state level versus how much should be local," Yin said.

Ross Day, Attorney for F.A.R.M.S, Inc., said he does not think the lawsuit will be successful because it misunderstands the relationship between states and counties.

"The lawsuit misunderstands that fundamental premise, the law doesn't compel the county to do anything," Day said.

The lawsuit comes after F.A.R.M.S, Inc. appealed an ordinance that would put restrictions on pot farming on rural residential roads. The Land Use Boards of Appeal, LUBA, overturned the ordinance.

County commissioners have appealed that decision.

When asked why the board is appealing the decision, Wally Hicks, Josephine County Legal Counsel, said in an email, "If the county had not appealed LUBA's ruling it would have sent out notice in accordance with LUBA's order and held a remand hearing. LUBA declined to rule on the Petitioners' other two claims which means they can be appealed again even after the remand hearing."

Amanda Metzler, F.A.R.M.S, Inc. President, said the group wants to sit down with the board to come up with ordinance both groups will be happy with. 

When asked if that meeting will still happen, Hicks said, "The Board has not met since the lawsuit was filed so there has been no way just yet to decide whether to meet with FARMS INC."

Day said the group will meet this Sunday to decide if they will get involved in the suit. He described what that would look like.

"We would file a motion to intervene, we'd intervene in the case because this would obviously have an affect on my clients' rights," Day said. 

He said if that were to happen, it would likely be in the next few weeks.

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