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Oregon’s Black Market Is Thriving

U.S. Attorney Billy Williams said the state has a “significant overproduction” problem

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The black market for marijuana is thriving in Oregon and an oversupply of weed from growers is flowing to more than two dozen states where pot remains illegal, a top federal law enforcement official said Friday.

U.S. Attorney Billy Williams said the state has a “significant overproduction” problem and that he would prioritize enforcement of overproduction, interstate trafficking, organized crime and cases involving underage marijuana use and environmental damage from illicit pot farms.

The comments, which echoed those he made earlier this year, were included in a memo that outlines his plans for enforcing federal drug laws in a state with legalized marijuana. Williams is the first U.S. attorney to issue such guidance after Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the Obama administration’s guidance on pot-friendly states in January.

“As the primary law enforcement official in Oregon, I will not make broad proclamations of blanket immunity from prosecution to those who violate federal law,” he wrote.

Sessions asked federal prosecutors to determine marijuana policies for their districts, prompting Williams to convene a summit in Portland earlier this year to discuss the state’s oversupply problem. At the time, Williams also penned an editorial that described a glut of marijuana making its way out of the state illegally and called for action by local and state leaders.

Those in the marijuana industry reacted with cautious optimism to the memo and said it didn’t seem to change federal marijuana policy in Oregon.

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