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Other Views: Give police marijuana grow-site list

The Bend Bulletin

Enforcing the law shouldn’t be unnecessarily complicated. But when it comes to marijuana, the state may need to change the law to avoid needless hassle for law enforcement.

Locations of recreational grows are public. Medical grows are not.

The Oregon Health Authority says it can’t tell local law enforcement where medical marijuana grows are located. If the OHA gets a specific question about a specific property, it will confirm a grow exists. But it won’t just send out general location lists to law enforcement.

The OHA isn’t doing that just to be difficult. Medical grow sites can be tied to personally identifiable medical information. And state and federal law try to protect such information.

Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson and Deschutes District Attorney John Hummel have requested the location list for Deschutes County and been turned down. They argue it makes it difficult to confirm which grows are legal, because they have to repeatedly make requests to the OHA. Hummel also says the law does not prohibit the list from being released.

If he’s right, OHA should release the list. If he is not, the Oregon Legislature should change the law to allow such lists to be released to law enforcement.