Pot fence requirements are built into the rules

It seems like everywhere I go in Jackson and Josephine counties, I see green shadecloth enclosures and spiffy new wood fences that obviously surround cannabis gardens. To my eye, they are far more offensive to look at than the plants themselves. Are those fences required by law? If not, why do the growers use them? If they are required, what were the legislators' goals in requiring fencing. 

— Rogue River Bill


Hey, that's quite a handle you've got, Rogue River Bill. And, yes, we've heard more than our share of complaints about those fences, particularly the tarp fences.

In general, 8-foot fences are required to obscure the view of the plants, though there are plenty of folks, including growers, who think long wooden fences are just plain ugly.

When Oregonians decided they wanted to legalize marijuana, there was much concern about keeping those plants away from the prying eyes of children.

Rules for the recreational pot program mandate that grows be shielded from public view, with one option to accomplish that feat being the construction of an 8-foot fence. 

However, a solid fence isn’t required in every case, and growers can obtain waivers from the state, according to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, which also oversees legalized marijuana.

If the grow site isn't close to a road, or is somehow obscured from public view, the fence wouldn't be required. Unfortunately, many of these grow sites are located near freeways, highways and other areas. In fact, despite the tall fences, pot gardens can still be seen from certain vantage points.

There has been a move afoot to allow growers to install other types of fences, but legislators haven't signed off on that idea yet.

Growing hemp has also become popular, and because it is an agricultural crop overseen by the Oregon Department of Agriculture, it doesn't even need a fence. Hemp plants look very similar to regular marijuana, but don't produce the high.

The only thing we can say, Rogue River Bill, is that after a few years, those massive fences will weather and hopefully become less obvious.

— 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. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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