Jackson Co. cracking down on illegal marijuana grows

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. – Jackson County Commissioners are updating county codes to crack down on illegal cannabis in the county. The move comes after the county says there’s been an increase of complaints and crime-related activities concerning illegal grows in the valley. The ongoing issue of illegal grows in the Rogue Valley has caught the attention of county officials. Jackson County Commissioners are hoping Wednesday’s code change will allow illegal grow operators to become compliant or be completely shut down.

“It was clear to us that we needed to specifically address hemp and marijuana,” said Jackson County Commissioner Dave Dotterer and his colleagues are revising the current code regarding cannabis-related violations.¬†They are now taking a more aggressive approach to get growers to comply with permits. However, it wasn’t always like that.

“The idea behind it was not to cite people, it was not too fine people. It was to bring people into compliance,” said Commissioner Dotterer.

But Jackson County Sheriff Nathan Sickler said that didn’t work.

“That really sends a poor message to the community about why do we have rules if nobody is going to follow them or enforce them,” said Sheriff Sickler.

Last week, Oregon State Police and Jackson County Sheriff’s Office made a major illegal marijuana bust. OSP said the Eagle Point property had 74 greenhouses and it seized over 52,000 illegal marijuana plants.

“There’s just a complete disregard for any of the rules. And that’s much different than someone who has just missed the mark a little bit.”

Now growers not following county code have limited deadlines to be in compliance. It also allows law enforcement to work with code enforcement. Landowners will also be held accountable if they rent to someone breaking the rules.

“We want to improve livability for everyone in Jackson County and those business owners who are doing it legally feel like there is a purpose to following the rules,” said Sheriff Sickler.

County Commissioners told NBC5 News they are working with state officials on cannabis policies in Salem. They hope with stricter policies it’ll help the legal grows, as well as decrease crime in the area.

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