Friday, October 23, 2015

Legalization of pot creating a 'gold rush' type atmosphere in rural Oregon

Now that marijuana has been legalized in Oregon, rural residents in the southern part of the state say an influx of marijuana growers are turning the area into a veritable "gold rush" type atmosphere, Vickie Aldous reports for the Mail Tribune in Medford. Residents complain that marijuana growers are buying up land—displacing landowners—using up water sources in an area in the middle of a drought and creating an unfriendly environment that consists of increased traffic, loud noises, unpleasant smells and an impending fear of violence in once quiet, remote neighborhoods. (Tribune photo by Jamie Lusch: Large marijuana plants line a hillside in the Applegate Valley)

Residents also say marijuana growers seem to have "little regard for the community and long-time residents," Aldous writes. Homeowner Jim Reiland told Aldous, "Growers are not bad people, but they don't have the same commitment to the area. They're just looking at it as an opportunity to make a boatload of money in a hurry. Their issue is getting it grown and getting it out."

Residents say "they think marijuana growers should instead obtain legal water rights and use water from irrigation districts," Aldous writes. They also worry "about woodlands being cleared for marijuana plants, and they say grow lights and industrial fans are disturbing." Residents have called "on Jackson County officials to develop more regulations governing marijuana grows." Having marijuana growers in the neighborhood has led some residents to put their homes up for sale. (Read more)

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