Oregon to Make Landowners Accountable for Illegal Pot Growers

Despite Oregon’s longstanding image as a haven for premium weed, the state is now plagued by illicit producers offering exorbitant sums of money to lease or buy land and then leaving behind a trail of destruction in the form of pollution, trash, and a depleted water supply.

Now, the Oregon legislature has passed a bill to address the issue by imposing liability on landowners. In addition to outlawing the use of rivers or groundwater at illegal locations, the measure makes it a crime to confiscate the identification documents of migrant workers caring for the plants or to threaten to report them for deportation.

The bill allows municipalities to file a claim of lien against a property where illegal marijuana was grown if the owner refuses to cover the cost of cleanup.

According to the head of the state agency in charge of regulating cannabis and alcohol, southern Oregon is to weed what Bordeaux is to wine.

However, there are two major problems the state must address: As a result of a product surplus, prices, and profit margins in the regulated industry have fallen, and the number of illicit pot farms has increased dramatically under the guise of cultivating hemp, which became legal at the federal level in 2018.

A tweet by News4JAX entitled “Holding Landowners Responsible for Illegal Pot Growers” is now available.

House Speaker Dan Rayfield approved the bill Wednesday despite opposition from several Republicans after it had already passed the Senate and the House. It’s anticipated that Democratic Gov. Tina Kotek will sign it next week.

β€œThis is just an assault on property rights here in the state of Oregon,” GOP Sen. Dennis Linthicum said on the Senate floor.

But Ashland state senator Jeff Golden warned that suspicious activity is afoot when landowners are “approached at the beginning of the growing season with requests to lease their property for tens, sometimes hundreds of thousand dollars for a single year.”

According to eyewitnesses, landowners were given backpacks stuffed with thousands of dollars in cash and were thereafter inundated with purchase proposals. One of three proposals sent to a landowner last year stated, “We pay CASH and offer a fast close.”

Sheriff Nathan Sickler of Jackson County, Florida, told lawmakers that after police search illegal cannabis farms, neither landowners nor suspects take steps to remove the flimsily constructed greenhouses (sometimes called “hoop houses”), latrines, and other trash (including plastics and chemicals).

β€œFrankly, it’s an eyesore for our community, with no means to deal with it,” Sickler said.

About two years ago, officials said, criminal gangs from places like Mexico and Russia started taking advantage of the favorable growing circumstances. The authorities were unable to keep up with the proliferation of hoop houses and only managed to shut down a small percentage of the operations.

Farmhands frequently have their money withheld, are forced to use open latrines, and live in deplorable conditions.

The grow sites have shrunk and spread out as a result of the constant police operations that seized over 100 tons of illegal marijuana across the state last year.

Oregon to Make Landowners Accountable for Illegal Pot Growers

On Thursday(8 June 2023), for instance, officers from the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office and other agencies conducted a raid near Cave Junction, where they reportedly destroyed 2,000 marijuana plants and 100 pounds of processed marijuana.

The measure has been widely praised by landowners who have been victimized by illicit grow sites and who have seen their properties’ ecosystems harmed as a result.

“At least a sizable percentage of landowners understood the error of their ways. I think this will help to stem the flood,” said Jack Dwyer, who lives in close proximity to the Selma neighborhood. Dwyer claims that in 2021, a big illegal grow site in the area drained the creek that traversed his land.

Water conservation advocate Christopher Hall praised the bill as evidence that Oregon lawmakers are aware of and serious about addressing the issue of industrial-scale illegal cannabis cultivation.

Illegal construction “not only turns streams into gravel roads but also leads to serious human rights violations and the dumping of trash, sewage, chemicals, and other waste into ditches, riparian areas, and streams,” he said.

Check out these links for more information about Portland:

Before Republican senators launched their walkout on May 3, in protest of Democratic legislation on ab0rtion, gender-affirm!ng treatment, and g*n safety, the measure had already been approved by the Senate. On May 31st, the House voted to legalize marijuana by a margin of 53 to 3. The legislation is now ready to be signed into law by Kotek.

Elisabeth Shepard, Kotek’s spokeswoman, said, “The governor supports cracking down on illegal cannabis operations, which have been prevalent in southern Oregon.”

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Sophia Willmer is a skilled content editor who brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her role at Focushillsboro.com. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for crafting compelling content, Sophia ensures that every piece of content on the site is polished, accurate, and engaging.Sophia's love for writing and editing began at a young age, and she pursued a degree in journalism and communications to further her knowledge and skills. She has worked in a variety of roles in the media industry, from writing and editing for magazines to producing digital content for websites.

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