It’s no secret that there are plenty of illegal grow operations that are up and running in states that have legalized recreational or medicinal marijuana. We’ve already talked plenty about Colorado’s trafficking problem and some of the massive grow busts that are still happening all over the country, but there is one county in Oregon that is taking the matters to laughable extremes. Jackson county in Oregon has received a whopping seven applications for permits to grow cannabis on rural residential land. This pitiful turnout is indicative of the attitudes of Jackson county’s growers when it comes to these kinds of permits. The application fee is a little over $1,500 dollars and it appears that these growers would rather take the risks.
When asked about the incredibly modest number of applications the Jackson County Development Services Director said, “It’s a lot less than I had anticipated.” That might be the understatement of the year. Apparently state data from April showed that Jackson County had nearly 3,000 known medical marijuana grow sites. Even though an unknown number of these were in rural residential areas, this turnout is absolutely pathetic. While a part of me thinks that these growers need to step up and pay the application fee to become legitimate, after looking into it further it’s hard not to see why so many have refrained from applying. Many simply believe that they’ll be able to easily fly under the radar, which is actually pretty likely. Jackson county has said that they will not be actively seeking offenders of this and will simply be responding to complaints by neighbors. On top of that, although the punishments for being discovered are fairly harsh, such as being fined over $10,000 and being forced to remove your plants, they are incredibly easy to avoid. Violators will be given the opportunity to apply for the permit to avoid being charged.
Others believe that this recent law change that is requiring them to shell out over a grand for an application fee will be changed again very soon. That’s also pretty likely judging by how much cannabis legislation is changing year by year in each state. Another argument is that growers simply aren’t interested in letting people know about where they are growing and how much, as it’s just asking for thieves to break in, or the federal government to target them. Last of all this change is recent enough that perhaps there are hundreds of growers that don’t even know they need to apply for this yet. Whatever the reason, it is pretty clear that this new rural residential growing permit isn’t going to carry much weight for the 7 people in total that have one.