WASHINGTON — An Oregon Congressman is making southern Oregon’s illegal marijuana problems an issue for the nation’s highest law enforcement officer.
Oregon’s 2nd District Representative Cliff Bentz addressed the issue with U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland today.
While Garland was testifying to the US House Judiciary Committee about a school board memo, Bentz also prioritized illegal marijuana enforcement.
The Representative said the illegal production of cannabis and marijuana in Southern Oregon has reached “an almost unbelievable industrial scale.”
He said local police are watching the problem, including how drug cartels use the possibility of immigration to keep immigrant workers indebted to work for illegal drug operations.
Bentz told Merrick that his agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation “needs to be doing something about it at all the levels that you can.”
Bentz said the school board memo shows a misprioritization of issues by the Attorney General, while thousands of migrant workers are subjected to forced labor for illegal marijuana in Oregon.
Bentz named Jackson, Josephine and Klamath counties, and said that just one county in the region produces an estimated revenue in excess of $13.5 billion for illegal growers.
Representative Bentz told Garland about a cartel exchange with an Oregon watermaster whose life was threatened when trying to enforce water usage policy.
Bentz also placed into the Congressional record Josephine County’s letter to Oregon Governor Kate Brown asking for law enforcement assistance and Jackson County’s state of emergency declaration, both tied to illegal marijuana proliferation.