Let’s look into how one state is dealing with federal interference with state-lawful medical marijuana. We go to Oregon where we learn that federal agents raided five large outdoor medical marijuana gardens in Jackson County last year, starting in August and running into October. It was part of a nationwide crackdown on medical marijuana based on evidence [show me] people were using state laws as cover to grow pot for the black market. A June 29 memo signed by Deputy U.S. Attorney General James M. Cole said agents should not waste their time on individuals such as cancer patients using medical marijuana, but “prosecution of significant traffickers of illegal drugs, including marijuana, remains a core priority.” So far in Oregon, no public indictments have come out, and no forfeiture proceedings have been initiated.
In response, major medical marijuana growers are changing their ways. State figures obtained by The Associated Press show that the number of gardens registered as serving multiple patients will be far fewer in 2012. The number of registered patients is also down, slightly, since the Legislature doubled medical marijuana fees to $200. Growers and medical marijuana advocates say the risk of losing crops and property or even going to prison has had a chilling effect.
“There are not a lot of ways for people to do this completely legal, so if they are not willing to tread in that gray area, this is not for them,” said James Bowman, widely considered the largest and most outspoken grower in the state. He was not raided last year. This year, he plans to plant about 400 plants for 200 patients – a third the number of plants he could raise but enough to give patients the 1.5 pounds allowed by law. He said he wants to minimize the risk of coming under scrutiny by authorities wondering what he does with the excess.
Excess? Excess pot? That seems like a contradiction in terms to me. Excess pot? Sounds mythical. Learn more at The Seattle Times.
[image: google images Oregon]
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