Forest Service Veteran - Legalize Marijuana To Protect Our Forests

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There are a lot of cartel marijuana grow operations in the forests of Oregon. These are not one to two plant gardens. These are massive gardens with thousands of plants. Those massive gardens take up a lot of space, and involve a lot of pesticides and other pollutants. Cartel marijuana gardens are damaging the forests in Oregon, which is sad for many reasons. The forests of Oregon are one of Oregon's greatest assets, and they need to be protected and preserved for future generations. If Oregon Measure 91 passes, there won't be the need for cartels to grow marijuana in Oregon, as people will be able to grow their own or purchase marijuana from a store, rather than purchase cartel marijuana.

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This is not just my own personal view. It's a view that is shared by a long time United States Forest Service veteran named Rich Fairbanks. Mr. Fairbanks wrote a guest article for Capitol Press, in which he stated:

In 32 years working for the U.S. Forest Service, I have seen the Northwest's national forests face various threats, from the eruption of Mount St. Helens to the drought of 1977. Today, our forests face a threat that generates wildfires, deforestation, pollution and wildlife poisoning: illegal marijuana grow operations tied to international drug cartels. In both 2010 and 2011, law enforcement found over 90,000 of their marijuana plants in Oregon's national forests, and thousands more doubtless escaped detection. Our national forests face an epidemic of marijuana cultivation from the Siskiyou to the Wallowa-Whitman.

Many voters know that Measure 91, on the ballot this November, would regulate, tax and legalize marijuana sales to adults 21 and older. But Measure 91 is also the most effective step we can take to reduce the environmental impact from illegal growing operations in our public forests. Since Measure 91 would permit licensed marijuana farms to supply the legal market at lower cost, the legal supply would gradually replace the illegal supply from operations in our national forests.

Legalizing marijuana makes sense for so many reasons, that I'm shocked when I hear of anyone supporting prohibition. I want my son to be able to explore Oregon's forests without having to worry that an armed cartel grower may harm him. I want my son to see the beauty of Oregon's forests, and not have to see the look on his face when he sees the trash and garbage that is left behind by a cartel marijuana garden. Legalize it, tax it, and regulate it, and hopefully put the cartels out of business.

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