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Deschutes County develops tool for public to help report illegal marijuana grow sites

New website will help people distinguish legal, illegal growth

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Illegal marijuana grows in Deschutes County have authorities' attention, and they are looking to the public for help in efforts to find and remove them.

“These people are doing what they do to make money on the black market,” sheriff's Sgt. Jayson Janes said Wednesday.  

The Deschutes County sheriff’s and district attorney’s offices and Bend police have teamed up to form the the Deschutes County Illegal Marijuana Market Enforcement (DCIMME) team.

Janes said that between last September and November, the sheriff's office seized 900 illegal plants, 500 pounds of illegal processed marijuana, over 60 pounds of illegal butane hash oil and discovered four illegal BHO labs.

“Illegal butane hash oil labs, those are extremely dangerous,” Janes said. “People trying to do those in secret on their own -- we’ve had places blow up here and people get harmed due to the illegal BHO labs in our areas.” 

District Attorney John Hummel said that there have been 5-10 large illegal marijuana grow busts this past year. 

“It’s not so much what we see but what we don’t see,” Hummel said. “We want to make sure that we’re detecting what’s happening particularly on the big illegal marijuana grow operations.” 

The DCIMME has created an interactive website that will help people decipher what is and isn’t illegal and what to do about it.

“So by creating this interactive web tool, we’re going to help hopefully cut down on the calls for lawful activity and increase the calls for unlawful activity,” Hummel said.

The group is asking for volunteers to take part in focus groups, to test the website and provide feedback.

Hummel said while this tool is meant to help the average person who wants to assist in enforcing the law, it’s also will help the legal businesses. 

“Because we have lots of small businesses in our community that are small marijuana businesses, who spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in making sure they’re complying with all rules and regulations,” Hummel said.

“If a business comes in that doesn’t comply with the rules, a bandit who is undercutting them, they are taking away market share from those who are following the law," he said. "We want to protect the businesses that are doing it right.” 

The owner of Substance in Bend, Jeremy Kwit, said he’s confident in the quality of his product and not worried about illegal grows taking away business.

“People can grow beer or produce beer at home or ferment cider, but the regulated operators or craft breweries do just fine,” Kwit said. “So I’m not so concerned about the activity that might happen outside of our stores.” 

Crime And Courts / Deschutes County / Government-politics / News / Top Stories
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Noah Chast

Noah Chast is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Noah here.

Comments

20 Comments

  1. I applaud the effort. However, will there be any punishment for the illegal grow other than confiscation? Otherwise it is just the cost of doing business. Marijuana grows fast.

  2. in response to Jeremy Twit. I am allowed to brew beer in my home, yet I am not allowed to sell it! That is exactly the topic being discussed and asked by the reporter. Nice try, you fool!

      1. but only with proper licensing, along with following local law. That is not what this about. You must have been sampling the Substance product before you started typing.

  3. I can think of so many things to report. Deschutes county will need a full time website developer! Here are a few, my neighbor isn’t wearing a mask website, the mailman is late website, someone’s speeding on my street website, potholes in the road website and the always popular my neighbor has guns website.

  4. Do Deschutes County voters really need to pass a law decriminalizing grow houses? I thought selling was already illegal.

    “Snitching on your neighbors.” that should be Oregon’s State Motto.

  5. Yea, absolutely nothing can go wrong with this idea, not a thing. Noisy neighbor, call the cops and say they have a lot of cars over there and something smells funny. Barking dog, call the cops because they have a lot of foot traffic over there and something smells funny. County sactioned swatting coming to you soon.

  6. Another “special project” coming down from the DA’s office?

    Could we please get a progress report with metrics on the “Helping VETs in Court” project?

    The “Dignity in Central Oregon” project?

    And when they get around to it the “Black Market Pot” project?

    Just ask’in.

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