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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: 154554

Reported Deaths: 2204
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah31785528
Washington21060212
Marion18335285
Clackamas13310175
Lane10172126
Jackson8299111
Umatilla763181
Deschutes591859
Yamhill375964
Linn356556
Malheur334358
Polk302942
Klamath277455
Douglas242853
Benton231816
Josephine231649
Jefferson195028
Coos142519
Union127519
Columbia124321
Wasco122026
Lincoln112820
Hood River106329
Morrow104414
Clatsop7756
Crook77518
Baker6487
Curry4166
Tillamook4122
Lake3746
Harney2726
Grant2221
Wallowa1424
Gilliam531
Sherman530
Wheeler221
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 3554629

Reported Deaths: 51395
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles118754221106
Riverside2891853749
San Bernardino2853342673
Orange2603483889
San Diego2589823260
Santa Clara1098411765
Kern102627811
Fresno947941412
Sacramento929441464
Alameda800881224
Ventura77238834
San Joaquin665691082
Contra Costa62164674
Stanislaus55775944
Tulare47784746
Monterey42138327
San Mateo38763515
San Francisco34061398
Santa Barbara31763407
Solano29968164
Merced28915395
Sonoma27954298
Imperial26843589
Kings21951218
Placer19713231
San Luis Obispo19612227
Madera15390209
Santa Cruz14588183
Marin13136197
Yolo12760185
Shasta10944174
Butte10915160
El Dorado9095100
Napa897668
Sutter884597
San Benito574359
Yuba573336
Lassen560119
Tehama508152
Tuolumne394659
Nevada393274
Mendocino379643
Amador344441
Humboldt316033
Lake313440
Glenn221023
Colusa212813
Calaveras190547
Siskiyou174014
Inyo128736
Mono12114
Del Norte9875
Plumas6536
Modoc4524
Mariposa3947
Trinity3675
Sierra990
Alpine810
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