Report: Southern Oregon cannabis test reveals large amounts of illegal cannabis

Richard Evans, OLCC's senior director of licensing and compliance, provided information to the committee. He said that 54% of the farms approved to grow marijuana inspected by state officials were found to be cultivating illegal marijuana.
OLCC and the Oregon Department of Agriculture, named "Operation Table Rock" after the volcanic plateau near Medford, tested 212 registered cannabis cultivation in these two counties. There are 335 registered sites in the region. These figures do not take into account other farms that grow cannabis or cannabis without any registration.
Another 76 farms refused to allow inspectors to enter the property, and another 23 farm inspectors could not be contacted.
Evans said: "Based on my experience, I believe that the number of illegal cultivation is greater than the registered cultivation."
Jackson County and Josephine County lead the state in the production of cannabis and recreational cannabis. In order to control the explosion of marijuana that many believed to be illegal, posing as a licensed marijuana business, state lawmakers passed HB 3000 in July. It allows the Department of Agriculture to cooperate with OLCC and local law enforcement to obtain and test crops from hemp farms in southern Oregon.
"The quality of life in southern Oregon is the number one complaint of local residents," Evans said. "Do they have marijuana planted by armed guards in front of their homes, water rights, the smell of [marijuana], human trafficking — people working in this field — it seems to me a human brutality.”
According to reports, law enforcement agencies have noticed water diversion in many rivers and creeks, farms without workers’ toilets, and poor living conditions, such as people living in tents in greenhouses.
Representatives of hemp organizations including the Oregon Hemp Association, the Hemp Industry Association, and the Oregon Industrial Hemp Farmers Association did not respond to requests for comment on the impact of HB 3000.
The illegal cultivation of marijuana has also had a significant impact on the legal recreational marijuana market in Oregon. Evans cited the way illegal growers pay high amounts of cash for property, labor, and water rights as a way for them to compete with legal growers.
"If you play according to the rules in our leisure market, then you are playing after eight goals," he said.
Clarification: An earlier version of this story stated that 58% of farms that are allowed to grow cannabis were found to be cultivating illegal cannabis. OLCC later contacted JPR to clarify that the figure was 54%. This is the percentage of licensed cannabis farms inspected by state officials that were found to be growing illegal cannabis. As stated in the story, state officials inspected 212 of the 335 registered cannabis farms in Jackson County and Josephine County.

Post time: Nov-18-2021