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Feds move on outdoor marijuana grows

Federal authorities have waged an aggressive campaign lately against outdoor marijuana gardens in Western states this Summer. According to a CNN article here, in California alone over $1 billion worth of marijuana has been seized in outdoor marijuana garden raids in the last two months. These raids will conitnue through the late-Summer-Fall outdoor harvest season.

While these raids have primarily been conducted on large and illegal marijuana growing operations on public lands, the operations should be of concern to Oregonians anticipating the passage of Measure 80 in this Fall's elections.

Measure 80, also known as the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act, would purportedly legalize the use, production, processing and distribution of marijuana in Oregon. Indeed, it would create a state agency and bureaucracy to oversee the production, processing and distribution of marijuana cultivated under its auspices.

As discussed on this blog in previous posts, the cultivation, production and distribution fo marijauna remain unlawful under federal law. A federal conviction for growing marijuana in particular can easily lead to mandatory minimum federal prison sentences of 5 to 10 years.

Although the federal government has taken a generally lenient approach to individuals participating in states' medical marijuan aprograms, including Oregon's, this approach is subject ot change with little if any notice. It is also less than clear how the federal government will respond to the enactment of the much broader legalization of marijuana under laws such as Oregon's Measure 80.

Anyone involved in the cultivation, production, distribution or even use of medical marijuana in Oregon needs to consult with an experienced federal criminal defense attorney to understand what their potential liabilities are under frederal law.

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