BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Deputies accidentally discovered an illegal marijuana grow in South County, prompting the Sheriff and Deschutes County District Attorney to speak out against what they say is a lack of oversight over the marijuana industry.
Deputies executed a search warrant at a La Pine home, on January 10, looking for a stolen snowboard. Instead, they found 98 mature pot plants and 63 immature plants inside the house. D.A. John Hummel announced Tuesday the indictment of 27-year-old Blake Pyfer on multiple drug-related charges, in connection with the case.
D.A. Hummel says the case highlights a lack of state regulations. He says the Oregon Health Authority conducted no inspections at medical marijuana operations in Deschutes County, last year, and requests for a list of authorized sites have gone unanswered.
Sheriff Shane Nelson says the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, which oversees the recreational pot industry, has only 23 inspectors for more than 1,200 recreational grow and retail outlets. "We must show illegal marijuana manufacturers that they will be held accountable," Sheriff Nelson said Tuesday. "Oregon's U.S. Attorney Bill Williams shard information, at a recent meeting, that there is three times the amount of marijuana than can be legally consumed within Oregon's borders." Nelson has been an outspoken opponent to increasing the number of local pot outlets, "I have taken a stance: no more recreational commercial marijuana grows in Deschutes County. The state needs to take a 'time out' and assess the over-supply that is more than likely going to the black market." Nelson went on to say, "I have heard from several of our citizens that do not want commercial marijuana grows in our county. They are concerned about the livability of the community and the sustainability of the real estate market." He says the Sheriff's Office will continue to work with Community Development and the OLCC to conduct inspections of pot operations.