Oregon county seeks $7.3 million to help fight illegal marijuana grows

Officials in Jackson County in southern Oregon plan to ask the state for nearly $7.3 million to fight illegal cannabis cultivation operations.

County commissioners would use the money to hire 37 new workers, including code enforcement officers, Sheriff’s Office detectives and additional staff for the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office, the Mail Tribune reported.

Commissioner Rick Dyer said the funds would be used to make illegal cannabis cultivation more difficult in the county with increased inspections and enforcement.

The funds would not be used to clean up the environmental mess illegal growers leave behind.

According to the newspaper, county officials might also seek:

  • Stricter rules on marijuana and hemp.
  • Taxes on cultivation.
  • Larger fines.
  • Restrictions on water use.

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In October, Jackson County officials sent a letter to Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, Senate President Peter Courtney and House Speaker Tina Kotek declaring a state of emergency because of the illicit marijuana operations.

The request for the $7.3 million will go to the state’s Legislative Fiscal Office Emergency Board, which allocates emergency funds when the Legislature is out of session.