Oregon lawmakers have approved a bill to crackdown on landowners who allow cannabis to be grown on their property illegally, Oregon Public Broadcasting reports. The law comes after police seized more than 100 tons of illegal cannabis cultivated across the state last year.
The illegal sites often lead to environmental damage and are not remediated by the criminal grower or landowner after they are shut down by law enforcement. Under the measure, local governments are authorized to file a claim of lien against property used for illicit cannabis cultivation, if the owner doesn’t pay for the cleanup. The bill also bans the use of rivers or groundwater at the illegal site and criminalizes seizing the identity papers of migrant workers who tend the plants or threatening to report them for deportation.
The measure was opposed by many Republicans, including state Sen. Dennis Linthicum, who, during debate, described the measure as “an assault on property rights.”
Jackson County Sheriff Nathan Sickler said the waste and refuse left by the illegal grows are “an eyesore” for the community and police have “no means to deal with it.”
Gov. Tina Kotek is expected to sign the bill into law and it will take effect immediately after her signature. Elisabeth Shepard, Kotek’s spokesperson, told OPB that “The governor supports cracking down on illegal cannabis operations that have been prevalent in southern Oregon.”
Current Oregon law allows for a maximum of four homegrown cannabis plants per household.
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