October 25, 2011
By Steven Sandberg
MEDFORD, Ore. — State and county leaders are hoping to control marijuana grows on the ground in Jackson County by taking a look from the air.
Jackson County Commissioner John Rachor says he sees hundreds of pot grows from his helicopter during flights over the Rogue Valley. Representative Sal Esquivel thinks the medical marijuana program is out of control. On Tuesday, the pair took to the skies to get a better view of the issue.
Rachor and Esquivel permitted NewsWatch12′s Steven Sandberg to come along on a flight from Medford through Shady Cove and back. While in the air, they saw dozens of pot grows. Some still had growing plants, others had been harvested or raided by the DEA. Some grows had a handful of marijuana plants, but some had several dozen planted.
Esquivel says even if all of the grows are legal, the sheer number of them still raises the risk for pot ending up on the black market.
“It’s a product that’s easily sold and it’s a product that brings a substantial amount of monies,” said Esquivel.
Esquivel also says a series of DEA raids on medical marijuana grows in Southern Oregon has brought the issue to his attention. Esquivel says he wants the state of Oregon to improve on the Oregon Medical Marijuana Plan, he says more regulation can cut down on the amount of grows and keep the system in check.