Oregon Is Considering Stricter Cannabis Restrictions Due To A Surge In Illegal Production

Cannabis Restrictions: Voters in Oregon, hearing that doing so would end issues related to cannabis’s “uncontrolled production,” approved the recreational use of the substance in 2014. Instead, an explosion has occurred in the illegal cultivation of marijuana.

Oregon Is Considering Stricter Cannabis Restrictions Due To A Surge In Illegal Production

Legislators in Oregon are considering tightening regulations on illegal growers in response to concerns raised by law enforcement and legitimate business owners. On Nov. 8th, voters in Maryland and Missouri became the first in the US to legalize cannabis for recreational use. Oregon’s experience can serve as a model for these other states. That makes 21 states that have legalized recreational marijuana usage.

According to the Oregon-Idaho High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force, law enforcement has already confiscated over 105 tonnes of cannabis produced illegally in Oregon this year. That’s an increase from the 2019 minimum of 9 tonnes.

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Indoor and outdoor grow to consume vast quantities of water in already water-scarce regions, pollute the environment, and rely on migrant workers who are sometimes forced to live in deplorable conditions.

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office released this aerial shot of illegal cannabis grows near Alfalfa, Oregon, on September 2, 2021. Voters in Oregon legalized recreational marijuana in 2014 after being assured that doing so would put an end to issues related to the “uncontrolled manufacturing” of the substance. Instead, there has been a meteoric rise in the illegal marijuana industry. Lawmakers in Oregon are considering new measures to crack down on illegal growers.

Oregon Is Considering Stricter Cannabis Restrictions
Oregon Is Considering Stricter Cannabis Restrictions

For illegally producing over 100 plants or possessing over 32 times the legal limitations, a draught measure for Oregon’s 2023 legislative session that begins on January 17 would increase the maximum jail term and punishment, to 10 years in prison and $250,000, respectively. The legal limit for cannabis possession in Oregon is 2 ounces (57 grams) in a public place and 8 ounces (227 grams) in a private residence.

Water usage at unlicensed cannabis cultivation facilities is prohibited and individuals will be held liable for any environmental harm caused. The proposed legislation targets immigrant labor by making it unlawful for grow site managers to withhold salaries without legal cause, remove passports or other immigration documents without due process, or threaten to report workers to the authorities for arrest or deportation.

The authorities have been conducting raid after raid on plantations in several areas of Oregon, resulting in record seizures. Mexican, Russian, Chinese, and other international criminal groups have allegedly become involved, according to the police.

The greatest marijuana seizure in Oregon’s Yamhill County, known for its pinot noir wine, occurred in a single October raid that netted 76,930 pounds.

According to the sheriff’s office, “investigators determined the whole property had been modified to allow the development, storage, processing, and packing of marijuana to ship or transport out of the region.”

The sheriff’s office estimated that the marijuana’s market value on the East Coast would be $269 million, while in Oregon it would be worth $76 million.

Large sums of money were wire sent from Oregon to the Mexican state of MichoacΓ‘n, according to receipts found at the property in rural Newberg, Oregon.

On October 25 SWAT officers from the Oregon State Police raided a site in Jackson County, located in southern Oregon, where cannabis was being grown in greenhouses. Police also recovered weapons, three stolen vehicles, and the carcass of a black bear, and destroyed almost one thousand pounds of illegally processed cannabis.

It is estimated that countless tonnes of illicit marijuana is smuggled out of Oregon each year and sold for exorbitant profits, far outweighing the quantity that law enforcement personnel manage to intercept.

On Tuesday, the Oregon House passed a bill that would legalize the interstate shipment of cannabis. Unfortunately, business transactions aren’t likely to take place anytime soon. Many limitations have been inserted into Senate Bill 582.
A marijuana plant, from a stock photo.

It was said in a leaflet distributed to Oregon voters in 2014 that doing away with marijuana prohibition and unregulated distribution and usage would “remove the difficulties produced by the prohibition and uncontrolled manufacturing, transport, and possession of marijuana inside this state.”

Anthony Johnson, who spearheaded the charge to get Ballot Measure 91 on the ballot, said that the measure’s intended result of a legalized and regulated business from farm to the consumer has not been achieved.

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Johnson said that the issue would persist so long as recreational cannabis remained illegal at the federal level and in many other states due to the significant profit margin from selling it on the black market.

Johnson stated on Tuesday that he believes this issue would persist until federal authorities nationwide legalize the drug.

However, he argued that authorities in Oregon ought to take action against illicit growers.

“Of course, the state and/or federal government will step in to enforce state law when illegal grows are illegally taking water or illegally damaging our land with chemicals.”

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