Is Oregon producing too much cannabis?
Top federal prosecutor for state says excess marijuana finds way to black market
FILE – This Sept. 30, 2016 file photo shows a marijuana bud before harvesting at a rural area near Corvallis, Ore. Billy Williams, United States Attorney for the District of Oregon, is holding a marijuana summit to address what he calls a “massive” marijuana surplus in the state. He announced the Friday, Feb. 2, 2018 summit, after Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded a memo outlining how states with legalized marijuana could avoid federal scrutiny. (AP Photo/Andrew Selsky, File)
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown , at podium, speaks at a marijuana summit in Portland, Ore., Friday, Feb. 2, 2018. Oregon’s top federal prosecutor, Billy J. Williams, is holding the marijuana summit to hear how state, law enforcement, tribal and industry leaders plan to address a pot surplus that he says has wound up on the black market in other states and is fueling crime. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)
U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon Billy J. Williams, middle, speaks at a marijuana summit in Portland, Ore., Friday, Feb. 2, 2018, as Oregon Gov. Kate Brown sits to the right of Williams. Oregon’s top federal prosecutor, Williams, is holding the marijuana summit to hear how the state, law enforcement, tribal and industry leaders plan to address a pot surplus that he says has wound up on the black market in other states and is fueling crime. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)
By GILLIAN FLACCUS, Associated Press Published: February 3, 2018, 6:05 AM
PORTLAND — Oregon’s top federal prosecutor said Friday 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 13 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. U.S. attorneys from California, Washington, Colorado, Idaho, Alaska and Montana attended in person.
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.”
The marijuana industry has been watching federal prosecutors in states with legalized weed like Oregon closely since Sessions rescinded the so-called Cole memo. U.S. attorneys in states where marijuana is legal under state law now face the delicate question of how to do their jobs and hew to the federal ban.
Williams 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 of it winds up on the black market, he said. For More go to Oregon Weed