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Oregon police find 22,000 cannabis plants and 4.5 tonnes of weed

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‘Both grows were massive in scale, and larger than any previous known grows in Yamhill County’

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Multiple complaints led deputies with the Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office (YCSO) to two illegal cannabis grows in Oregon where they discovered a whopping 22,000 plants and about 4,536 kilograms of dried weed.

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The plants and processed cannabis were recovered after deputies began executing search warrants on Aug. 22 on two properties in rural Dayton. The structures housed “large, unlicensed, unpermitted marijuana grows in Yamhill County,” notes a statement from police.

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“It took the sheriff’s office four days to complete these search warrants,” the release points out.

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Because of the amount of work involved in dismantling and eradicating the illegal operations, as well as the need to maintain continuous property security while efforts were underway, YCSO received assistance from 12 other policing agencies, Homeland Security Investigations and the Oregon Army National Guard.

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“Both grows were massive in scale, and larger than any previous known grows in Yamhill County,” the sheriff’s office notes.

Commercial grows must be licensed

While medicinal and recreational cannabis are legal in Oregon, commercial grows must be licensed, with Gleam Law reporting a producer licence allows the holder to grow and cultivate cannabis, which can then be sold to a retailer or a processor. Cultivators must also obtain any necessary local permits.

“Individuals and businesses must be licensed through the Oregon Liquor Control Commission and fully comply with all state and local laws and regulations,” JDSupra explains.

In the Yamhill County incident, one grow-op had 46 unpermitted greenhouses with 6,699 growing marijuana plants and about 4,736 kilograms of dried or drying marijuana. The second operation revealed 53 unpermitted greenhouses containing 15,427 growing marijuana plants.

The plants and cannabis have since been destroyed.

Both illegal sites had large camps “where individuals who were actively involved in the cultivation and processing of marijuana were living,” YCSO reports.

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Officials called in to consider waste, electrical and water violations

Additionally, code enforcement inspectors were called to both locations to address solid waste concerns and electrical code violations, while referrals were made to regional water authorities “regarding water being diverted from Palmer Creek and from a pond on the property,” the police statement adds.

The Klamath Falls Police Department (KFPD), which is also located in Oregon, offered a caution following its discovery of two massive illegal grows in the fall of 2021 that contained a combined 22,000 marijuana plants.

A KFPD statement at the time noted that landowners “could be held liable for the theft and unlawful use of groundwater, as well as the illegal marijuana production, which occur on their leased properties.” Pursuing land seizure and forfeiture are among the tools the authorities have at their disposal.

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YCSO reports that both of the recently raided camps “contain a considerable amount of solid waste and refuse.”

Police have arrested 12 individuals found at the first illegal grow-op. All individuals, ranging in age from 19 to 60, were cited for both unlawful manufacture and unlawful possession of marijuana (YCSO does not note if any individuals were arrested at the second illegal grow).

Illegal grows can result in prison time upon conviction

Growing more than nine plants in a home is a Class C felony punishable by up to five years in prison and fines of as much as $163,750, notes information from Oregon Criminal Defence Lawyers.

Despite Oregon being a legal weed state, there have been plenty of very large seizures of illicit and unpermitted weed.

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Earlier this month, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) reported that detectives with the Illegal Marijuana Enforcement Team found an unlicensed grow-op near Medford that covered almost six acres of land.

In July, again involving the JCSO, deputies seized 12,000-plus marijuana plants from 32 greenhouses and about 1,360 kilograms of processed bud on a rural property in Eagle Point.

Both finds, however, fall far short of the monster illegal cannabis operation boasting 250 tons of cannabis worth an estimated $635 million that was discovered in November 2021.

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