Marijuana is legal in Oregon — why do some still grow it illegally?Posted by On

PORTLAND, Ore. (Portland Tribune) — The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office announced this week that deputies found approximately $2.2 million worth of cannabis — including 6,611 plants and 133.5 pounds of processed marijuana — at illegal grow sites in Scappoose, Deer Island and Clatskanie during a bust Wednesday, March 1.

While the discovery on its own was not particularly notable outside of Columbia County — according to law enforcement data, 105 tons of illegally grown cannabis was discovered throughout the state just last year — it does raise the question: Why do people still grow marijuana illegally in Oregon?

The state legalized possession and use in 2015, after voters passed Ballot Measure 91 the previous year. There were nearly 800 active marijuana retail licenses in Oregon as of Feb. 15, 2023, according to the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission.

The answer lies in the demand for marijuana outside Oregon rather than within the state.

“Because cannabis is illegal in many states … there’s an incentive for illegal producers to try to grow and export (illegally) to those other states. OLCC-licensed recreational marijuana producers (and other licensees) must sell their products within Oregon’s borders,” said Mark Pettinger, a representative for the commission.

Western Oregon offers a good temperate environment and landscape for marijuana to grow. The…

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