Water violations at cannabis grows decrease in southern Oregon

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There were fewer water violations by cannabis operators this year compared to the previous year in Jackson County, Oregon, according to the state’s Water Resources Department.

Scott Prose, assistant watermaster for the southwest region at the agency, said legal marijuana operators are largely responsible for the drop because of better education about water laws, Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) reported.

Thirty-one of the 146 cannabis grows Prose has visited in the past year have had water violations, he told the Jackson County Board of Commissioners.

“The education, the work you guys have done – just code enforcement, just the collaboration – all of that is adding up, in my opinion, to a pretty big decrease, which is great,” Prose said.

With collaboration from local and federal law enforcement, Oregon regulators have been cracking down on illicit cannabis grows, which are suspected of water theft, in recent years.

The Water Resources Department also required marijuana operators to document how they would source water this year, according to OPB.

Jackson County Administrator Danny Jordan said he’d like more funding from the state to clamp down on illicit grows.

The county received roughly $10 million from the state’s Illegal Marijuana Market Enforcement Grant Program last year, OPB reported.