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Marijuana Industry in Oregon 'Out of Control' Says US Attorney

Replying to a recent report on drug policy in Oregon and Idaho, US Attorney for Oregon Billy J. Williams slammed the state's handling of legalized marijuana.

Posted: Aug 2, 2018 2:44 PM
Updated: Aug 2, 2018 3:11 PM

PORTLAND, Ore. — One of the highest federal law enforcement officials in Oregon had strong words on Thursday for the state's handling of legalized marijuana, following the release of a new interstate report on the legal marijuana industry.

“The recent HIDTA Insight Report on marijuana production, distribution, and consumption in Oregon confirms what we already know—it is out of control," said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon in a statement. "The industry’s considerable and negative impacts on land use, water, and underage consumption must be addressed immediately."

The Oregon-Idaho High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program was first instituted by the White House to help coordinate anti-drug law enforcement efforts in Oregon beginning in 1999. Areas of Idaho were added to the program in 2015. This year, the HIDTA released their "Insight Report," interrogating the results of Oregon's legalization of marijuana.

"State officials should respond quickly and in a comprehensive manner to address the many concerns raised by this assessment," said Williams. "To date, we’ve seen insufficient progress from our state officials. We are alarmed by revelations from industry representatives, landowners, and law enforcement partners describing the insufficient and underfunded regulatory and enforcement structure governing both recreational and medical use. A weakly-regulated industry will continue to detract from the livability and health of communities throughout the state.”

The HIDTA report found that in Oregon "there is about one cannabis grow site for every 19 users," suggesting runaway overproduction of marijuana. Meanwhile, drafters of the report estimated that there were roughly 417,000 active marijuana users "of varying usage frequency" in the state at the time immediately following its legalization—equating to about 10 percent of the state's population.

Some of the report's most dire conclusions took aim at the Rogue Valley in particular:

"As a result of overproduction, impoverished counties that are heavily engaged in the cultivation of cannabis, such as Jackson, Josephine and Lane; face a critical economic risk from collapsing cannabis prices."

The report also claimed that the "historic use" and "exponential growth" of marijuana grow operations in the Rogue River Basin put the area under "acute hydrologic strain."

“What is often lost in this discussion is the link between marijuana and serious, interstate criminal activity. Overproduction is rampant and the illegal transport of product out of state—a violation of both state and federal law—continues unchecked. My ask continues to be for transparency, responsible regulation, adequate funding, and a willingness to work together. It’s time for the state to wake up, slow down, and address these issues in a responsible and thoughtful manner,” said Williams.

The full HIDTA report is available to view or download HERE.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 154878

Reported Deaths: 2206
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah31824528
Washington21099212
Marion18373285
Clackamas13328175
Lane10200126
Jackson8315111
Umatilla763982
Deschutes593459
Yamhill376764
Linn357756
Malheur334458
Polk303942
Klamath278455
Douglas244754
Josephine232849
Benton232516
Jefferson195128
Coos144019
Union128119
Columbia124821
Wasco122026
Lincoln112820
Hood River106429
Morrow104614
Clatsop7756
Crook77518
Baker6507
Curry4246
Tillamook4142
Lake3746
Harney2736
Grant2221
Wallowa1424
Gilliam531
Sherman530
Wheeler221
Unassigned00

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Cases: 3559311

Reported Deaths: 51794
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles118923221241
Riverside2894503767
San Bernardino2860772783
Orange2607213982
San Diego2589823260
Santa Clara1102371777
Kern102627811
Fresno950151422
Sacramento929611464
Alameda802791241
Ventura77395834
San Joaquin665691082
Contra Costa62164674
Stanislaus55887946
Tulare47784746
Monterey42138327
San Mateo38872515
San Francisco34138398
Santa Barbara31763407
Solano30024164
Merced28915395
Sonoma28004298
Imperial26855589
Kings21951218
Placer19763232
San Luis Obispo19612227
Madera15414209
Santa Cruz14588183
Marin13136197
Yolo12787185
Shasta10969174
Butte10922160
El Dorado9095100
Napa899869
Sutter884597
San Benito575259
Yuba573336
Lassen560119
Tehama508152
Tuolumne394659
Nevada394074
Mendocino379643
Amador344841
Humboldt318033
Lake314140
Glenn221923
Colusa212813
Calaveras190547
Siskiyou174014
Inyo128736
Mono12114
Del Norte9875
Plumas6536
Modoc4524
Mariposa3957
Trinity3675
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