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The overproduction myth

What do Iowa corn, Idaho potatoes and Kentucky tobacco have in common with Oregon marijuana? All are home-grown natural resources that the residents of the states from which the crops originate could not possibly consume all by their lonesome. Yet, here in Oregon, where our crop arguably has as much or more nutritional/medical value than any of the other crops mentioned above, the cannabis producers are shamed for "overproduction." Some cannabis entrepreneurs, along with legislators in Salem, are working to fix that problem. An updated version of Senate Bill 1042, introduced in the 2017 session, would allow the governor of Oregon to negotiate transportation of Oregon cannabis to cannabis-friendly states, such as New York or Massachusetts, where cannabis production infrastructure isn't nearly as advanced. The chief sponsor of the bill, Sen. Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene), told a local media outlet that no transportation of the product could be accomplished via boat or air, which are regulated by the federal government. Instead, all transport would be done by roadway. Floyd said Oregon would be foolish not to do it. Let's see just how "pro-business" the Republicans in the state house really are during the next legislative session.

Oh Canada

Effective Oct. 17, Canada became the first country among the G7 nations to legalize cannabis for recreational production, sale and use. The provinces and the national government will regulate production and sale, limiting users to 30 grams (or a little over 1 ounce) of possession, and allow the growing of four plants per household. Uruguay is the only other nation in the world with full national legalization.

Harvest Rules & Local Enforcement

Mixed or outdoor cannabis farms are in full harvest mode, and they'd do well to remember that the Oregon Liquor Control Commission requires notification by 9am on the morning of harvest before a single plant is cut.

While the OLCC tries to police illegal harvesting, Deschutes County Commissioners in a meeting on Oct. 17 revisited a $144,875 grant for the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office and District Attorney's Office in an effort to police illegal marijuana grows in the area. Anti-marijuana zealots and cannabis entrepreneurs alike seem to agree on the need to slow illegal marijuana production in the county. Rogue producers pay no mind to the odor, noise and production limits imposed by the county on regulated producers. Still, it's hard not to wonder whether this is simply a giveaway to law enforcement, considering there's little chance that a marginal increase in detective overtime is likely to put a dent in the potential illegality mixed in with about 1,000 registered medical marijuana grows in the county.

One of the favored talking points of County Commissioner Phil Henderson and others who are vehemently opposed to recreational marijuana is that the Oregon Health Authority and OLCC are vastly ill-equipped and understaffed, and thus cannot interdict with respect to unregulated grows. But will $144,875 for detectives who, by law, cannot obtain names and addresses of medical marijuana patients and growers, cure the problem? According to the Deschutes County Supplemental Budget Request, $30,000 goes to the payroll taxes and health insurance for a "crime analyst" in the DA's office, along with $36,000 in overtime for sheriff's detectives, a couple hundred bucks for a "cell phone/pager" (oh, please tell me they use a pager) and a whopping $1,500 on "advertising." But I guess those deep state liberals at OHA and OLCC didn't think to throw the entire cost of a westside Bend tool shed at the problem, did they?

Marijuana Right to Farm? Not so much.

You know what could save us $144,874, and add over $1 billion to the revenue ledger? Treating marijuana like the farm crop it is and making Oregon the weed breadbasket of the country. But that's not likely to happen soon on a statewide or local level. The Deschutes County Commissioners on Oct. 17 continued to fiddle with the "Right to Farm" section of the Deschutes County Code, essentially striking cannabis from that protection.

For those less acquainted with the "Right to Farm" doctrine, consider that Deschutes County Code 9.12.020 – "Purpose and Scope" – uses strong language to protect the holy practice of resource extraction: "... Farm and forest uses sometimes offend, annoy, interfere with or otherwise affect others located on or near farm and forest lands. Deschutes County has concluded in conformance with ORS chapter 30 that persons located on or near farm and forest lands must accept resource uses and management practices." (emphasis mine)

There is zero equivocation in that statement, yet this section's verbiage will live on. Acceptance, apparently, has its limits.

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