Green Light Law Group notched a win against the Reefer Madness sweeping southern Oregon today by convincing the court to stop the Jackson County Sheriff's Office from needlessly destroying hemp crops. The Temporary Restraining Order overturns the Sheriff's Office directive to our client, a local hemp farmer, to immediately plow under all hemp in the fields and destroy the greenhouses on the property. Our client, who had a hemp registration through 2020 and was waiting months for the Oregon Department of Agriculture (“ODA”) to issue its 2021 registration, has been legally growing hemp since 2020 with no violations.
GLLG attorney Kevin Jacoby called it “an important win for hemp growers in Southern Oregon, who are increasingly subject to raids, threats and demands, without regard to their legal rights.” GLLG attorney Abby Michels also contributed to the case.
HB 3000 became law on July 19, 2021, and made some significant changes to how hemp is regulated in the state of Oregon. Almost immediately upon the law becoming effective, Deputy Sheriff Ryan Groom and an unidentified Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) inspector visited our client and accused our client of operating an illegal grow, a misdemeanor under HB 3000. Deputy Sheriff Groom ordered our client to immediately plow under all hemp in the fields and destroy all the legally-constructed greenhouses on the property. After pleading from our client, Deputy Sheriff Groom agreed to give him until today to destroy everything, or else.
Not only did our client apply to the ODA for a hemp registration, the ODA even cashed his check for the registration fee back in May. The ODA told our client the application was complete, but they were simply processing “a bit slower” due to staffing issues. Based on these representations, and in order to preserve his crop in the growing season, and his substantial investment in his farm, he brought hemp clones onto the property and began planting some of them in order to not be entirely locked out of the 2021 growing season.
GLLG filed a lawsuit against both the Sheriff and ODA, requesting the court for the following immediate actions:
- Stop the Sheriff's Office from destroying our client’s property;
- Require the Deputy Sheriff to attend a hearing on Wednesday to explain why the Sheriff's Office should be allowed to destroy the crops and greenhouses before the lawsuit has been finished; and
- Require the ODA to either issue the hemp grower registration or explain why it was not issued.
The court agreed to all three requests. This is, we hope, a clarion call to law enforcement that harassment is not an acceptable regulatory option. There are appropriate ways to prevent bad actors from producing illegal cannabis, but targeting honest farmers based on overblown fears of illusory cartels should not be one of them.
Join GLLG Litigators Andrew DeWeese, Kevin Jacoby, and Abby Michels live at Medford's Rogue Regency Inn at 4:00 PM on Wednesday, July 28, 2021, for an illuminating discussion on how HB 3000 has changed the hemp landscape.
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THIS EVENT HERE.