Oregon lawmakers look to further crack down on illegal marijuana grows

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As Oregon continues to battle a proliferation of illegal marijuana grow operations, lawmakers are seeking to strengthen laws against illicit market cultivators.

Police have been raiding illegal grows for months, especially in southern Oregon, after lawmakers set aside $25 million last year to crack down on illicit-market cultivation.

And police have seized more than 105 tons of illicit-market cannabis this year, the Associated Press reported.

But some are saying that’s not enough.

As licensed marijuana growers, law enforcement and others continue to complain about the situation, a draft bill has been proposed for the state’s 2023 legislative session that begins Jan. 17, according to the AP.

Ballot Measure 91 would double the maximum prison sentence to 10 years and fines to $250,000 for anyone caught illegally growing in excess of 100 plants and possession of more than 32 times the legal limit.

In addition, the measure addresses environmental damage and bans using water at cultivation facilities not licensed for growing cannabis, the Associated Press reported.

Also, the bill would make illegal:

  • Confiscation of an immigration document or passport at an illegal grow site.
  • Threatening to report someone to a government agency for deportation or arrest.
  • Withholding wages without lawful justification.