In the high desert of Deschutes County, water is our most precious resource. Growing marijuana in our rural landscape is putting pressure on neighboring wells - many people near marijuana growing operations have had their wells run dry. As we plan for the growth of our county, we must ask our leaders if creating areas of water poverty is a responsible management practice.
For most people, their home is their greatest asset. Deschutes County Realtors are reporting difficulty in selling homes in proximity to growing operations - these homes are staying on the market longer and are selling for less than they would have were a growing operation not nearby.
Whether you live in town and see dispensaries everywhere you look, live in the rural community and have a grow operation next door, or experience people smoking it in public places, it is impossible to escape the effects marijuana has had on our landscape and community.
Paying attention to marijuana-related news, you'll surely read about illegal trafficking out of state, DUII accidents, and crime. The black market is thriving, and Deschutes County is near the top of the list of "diversion" (trafficking) counties. Farms are surrounded by razor wire and their employees are armed; security cameras are mandated by OLCC. None of these factors make for a safe environment in which to live.
The Oregon Health Authority reports that marijuana use by children is higher in Oregon than the US average. Recent recreational legalization had greatly increased the number of marijuana related hospitalizations of children and teenagers. Children's Hospital Association reports children with difficulty breathing or in a comatose state, with a high percentage requiring care in the ICU. We care about the health and welfare of Oregon's children.
Preserve Deschutes County is a group of Oregonians who want to protect and preserve what is great about Central Oregon - clean water, fresh air, a healthy outdoor lifestyle, and a safe environment where families can thrive.
Allowing marijuana grow operations in our rural neighborhoods is a threat to the community's safety, property values, water stability, and way of life.
If you've been impacted by the lax marijuana legislation, the "green-rush" of a growing operation in your neighborhood, or are worried about water management in Deschutes County, we welcome you to join us.