Commissioners OK lease with pot-friendly campground

The Josephine County Board of Commissioners, despite hearing concerns about a marijuana-friendly campground leasing a strip of county land at Lake Selmac, approved the six-year lease for the planned resort this week.

Smoke On the Water Resort, formerly Lake Selmac Resort, is promoting marijuana use at its 5-acre campground next to the county-owned lake 22 miles southwest of Grants Pass.

For years, the county has leased to the owners of the resort a 400-foot-long strip for a boathouse and docks. Wayne Zallen, doing business as Smoke On The Water, bought the resort and campground recently.

Commissioners decided to approve the lease — with some concerns — with the condition that marijuana use be prohibited on the strip of land.

Recreational marijuana use, while legalized in Oregon two years ago, is prohibited on county-owned property, including the entire lake, campgrounds and boat ramps.

"I have some real concerns about Smoke on the Water," said Commissioner Dan DeYoung. "If he has people smoking pot on the shore and fishing, that will be in violation of his lease."

Earlier this month Sarah Wright, Josephine County Parks manager, said signs could be put up so people don't think they can light up while on the docks or on the water in front of the resort.

The six-year lease will bring in $5,400 to county coffers.

Some other speakers at a meeting Tuesday said they were concerned about people smoking pot and operating boats on the lake. Commissioner Simon Hare pointed out that Selmac has a no-wake speed limit, because it's managed as a fishing lake.

Earlier this month, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission said the resort would not be allowed to have a license to serve alcohol, nor would it be allowed to provide any marijuana product.

Campers need to bring their own marijuana.

Zallen, who is from Eagle Point, said he envisioned campers could light up either at their campsite or inside a planned community center on the property.

— Reach reporter Jeff Duewel at 541-474-3720 or

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