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

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Cases: 398262

Reported Deaths: 5318
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah61268858
Washington42807409
Marion40454521
Clackamas33383393
Lane30600364
Jackson25322365
Deschutes24107198
Umatilla15191184
Linn15044187
Douglas13690298
Josephine10414250
Yamhill9934145
Klamath9149153
Polk8409104
Benton626040
Malheur594693
Coos5878109
Columbia443156
Jefferson427868
Lincoln369955
Crook346858
Union342857
Wasco321147
Clatsop266835
Baker223434
Tillamook221447
Hood River218937
Morrow199425
Curry194639
Harney122333
Grant109216
Lake106519
Wallowa76513
Sherman1953
Gilliam1864
Wheeler1201
Unassigned00

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San Diego4135824357
Riverside3920205397
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Orange3373285796
Sacramento1703432467
Kern1593361855
Fresno1584502289
Santa Clara1540471941
Alameda1264451513
San Joaquin1085901839
Ventura1051271194
Contra Costa1048151058
Stanislaus924201441
Tulare871361103
San Francisco57584676
San Mateo56974631
Monterey53040631
Solano48111365
Santa Barbara47954556
Merced45572675
Sonoma43725414
Placer42858479
Imperial39228778
Kings35628372
San Luis Obispo31844361
Madera26567315
Shasta26397465
Butte25731324
Santa Cruz22609224
Yolo21840263
Marin18796249
El Dorado18569170
Sutter14710186
Napa13528107
Yuba1087191
Humboldt10391120
Tehama10339133
Nevada10218105
Mendocino877599
Lassen801259
San Benito796780
Tuolumne785191
Lake7079113
Amador584969
Siskiyou481057
Glenn460536
Calaveras451088
Del Norte381942
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Inyo260246
Plumas196912
Mono19414
Mariposa164018
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Modoc7966
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