U.S. Attorney Says Oregon is Overproducing Pot
PORTLAND, Ore. — U.S. Attorney Billy Williams held a summit with 6 other U.S. attorneys and 13 U.S. attorney representatives to debate what he says is an overabundance of marijuana in the state. The Seattle Times reported that members of the FBI, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S Postal Inspection Service and the U.S Forest Service were in attendance as well.
Williams says that the surplus of marijuana is attracting members from drug traffickers, adding that violence and money laundering comes with the territory. He worries that the weed is ending up on the black market, and he “plans to do something about it.”
The state currently has around 900 licensed marijuana cultivators and more than 1,100 businesses waiting for licenses. Oregon also has 25,600 growers licensed for medical marijuana cultivation. According to the governor of Oregon Kate Brown (D), Williams promised her administration that only illegal marijuana businesses will be targeted by law enforcement.
The summit comes after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions revoked the federal protection from prosecution in legal marijuana states known as the Cole Memo. By rescinding the protection, state prosecutors now have the power to enforce federal law regardless of state law.
Williams cited law enforcement officials seizing $1.2 million and more than 2600 pounds of marijuana from Oregon in 16 other states as proof that the black market is getting weed from the state. But, because illegal cultivators have been producing marijuana in Oregon long before legalization, it is hard to determine if smuggling has gotten worse or if it is just now being tracked.
No plans or details regarding how the state will stop black market sales were revealed. The press was only allowed to listen to 20 minutes of the nearly 7-hour long meeting.