PORTLAND, Ore. — With new legislation in place, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) indicated on Monday that it would be putting more attention to the issue of illegal marijuana in southern Oregon as local agencies struggle to keep up with the sheer volume of grow operations.
Representative Lily Morgan championed House Bill 3000, which was drafted to bridge the enforcement gap. It directs the OLCC to work with the Oregon Department of Agriculture and other state and local agencies to crack down on illegal grows.
“What’s going on in southern Oregon with the cartel takeover of cannabis growing through the guise of hemp and our role in being able to enforce that is all incredibly important,” said OLCC Executive Director Steve Marks. “We and our partners are poised to begin eradicating this illegal activity, to bring stability to disrupted communities starting in Jackson and Josephine counties, and to ensure that our legal, licensed, tax-paying cannabis licensees aren’t being undermined by illegal market activity.”
According to the OLCC, HB 3000 also puts the chemicals extracted from marijuana and hemp under stricter control. The agency helped provide technical support to legislators on the issue.
"Currently Delta-8-THC, which is chemically extracted from hemp, can be sold to children at neighborhood convenience stores; House Bill 3000 requires the OLCC to keep THC products away from kids," the agency said in a statement.
Effective August 2, the OLCC's official name will change to the "Oregon Liquor & Cannabis Commission" (it will remain the OLCC).
In both Jackson and Josephine counties, a coalition of law enforcement and other agencies have stepped up raids on illegal marijuana grows since the beginning of the year. Investigators raided a small "compound" north of Eagle Point on July 15, preceded on July 13 by a series of raids in Josephine County.