Oregon has big pot overproduction problem


PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon's top federal prosecutor said today the state has a "formidable" problem with marijuana overproduction that winds up on the black market and that he wants to work with state and local leaders and the pot industry to do something about it.

U.S. Attorney Billy Williams convened the unprecedented summit of influential federal law enforcement representatives, state officials and marijuana industry scions after Attorney General Jeff Sessions withdrew an Obama administration memo that had guided states with legalized weed on how to avoid federal scrutiny.

The meeting included representatives from 14 other U.S. attorney's offices, the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Nine U.S. attorneys attended in person, including those from California, Washington, Colorado, Idaho and Nevada.

Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, told guests that Williams has assured members of her administration that "lawful Oregon businesses remain stakeholders in this conversation and not targets of law enforcement."

Williams also sought to calm fears among pot growers, but said the market has a problem that must be addressed. Everyone needs a "bottom-line answer" on how much excess marijuana is being produced and how much is being smuggled out to other states where it remains illegal, he said.

The surplus attracts criminal networks and generates money laundering, drug violence and environmental contamination from pesticides and draws down water supplies in rural communities, he said.

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