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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

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Confirmed Cases: 11188

Reported Deaths: 230
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah269472
Marion174353
Washington172020
Clackamas91427
Umatilla8867
Union3671
Lincoln3634
Lane2713
Malheur2661
Deschutes2290
Yamhill1719
Linn16810
Polk16812
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Jefferson1450
Morrow1321
Klamath1311
Wasco1021
Benton996
Hood River990
Douglas560
Clatsop550
Josephine541
Coos520
Columbia470
Lake240
Crook171
Tillamook150
Wallowa120
Curry90
Baker80
Sherman30
Harney20
Gilliam10
Grant10
Unassigned00
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Fresno762787
Alameda7407146
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Kern597989
Santa Clara5678166
Tulare5509148
Sacramento493278
Stanislaus436450
Contra Costa435788
San Francisco414550
Ventura409353
Santa Barbara386829
San Mateo3787111
Marin322730
Kings285539
Monterey234317
Solano198527
Merced179312
Sonoma151914
Placer99311
San Luis Obispo8774
Madera8578
Yolo80228
Santa Cruz5063
Napa4664
Sutter3374
Butte3194
San Benito3112
El Dorado2920
Lassen2690
Shasta1766
Yuba1633
Humboldt1614
Glenn1590
Nevada1591
Mendocino1070
Colusa1030
Lake1011
Tehama981
Calaveras610
Tuolumne600
Del Norte580
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Inyo341
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