County votes down sale of recreational pot


OREGON – The Ogle County Board has voted to prohibit the sale of recreational marijuana in the county, but that could change.

“We can opt into that at any time,” said County Board Chairman John Finfrock about selling recreation marijuana in the county.

The board voted 18-2 at its Dec. 17 meeting to – for now – not allow the sale or growth of recreational pot in unincorporated areas of the county. Individual municipalities can still approve their own marijuana ordinances.

Finfrock said that the main concern is that the county has not received enough information from the state on how the cannabis operations will work.

“We want a lot more information about it,” he said. “There’s so many things up in the air that we’re not sure of.”

One of those things is taxes, and what the real tax dollars flowing into the county from recreational marijuana sales would look like.

“Frankly, we don’t know,” Finfrock said.

The county first discussed recreation marijuana at its Aug. 20 meeting, when Kim Gouker was still chairman of the board. Gouker died in September. At the time, Gouker said he felt personally that the county should opt out, but that more information was needed.

The board also agreed at the meeting on a close 12-8 vote to extend the county’s moratorium on the development of solar power. The county first adopted the moratorium in August 2018 and has extended it several times since.

The new extension takes the moratorium until March 31, but that could change “at any time,” Finfrock said.

He said a solar sub-committee is close to finishing its work. Once that is done, it will bring its findings to the full County Board for consideration. Finfrock said he does believe the county will soon move forward on the solar issue.