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Oregon's Marijuana Supression Fund Clipped

Herb Fellow

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PORTLAND, Ore. – Oregon authorities seized a record number of marijuana plants last year, but now face a sharp drop in a federal grant used to combat Mexican drug gangs and other public safety problems. Police seized 262,013 marijuana plants in Oregon last year and caught scores of people tending the plants, especially in southwest Oregon and the McMinnville area. The drug cartels have been identified as the state's leading organized crime threat.

A 67 percent drop in the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant comes as planting season nears. Byrne Grant money over five years in Oregon totaled $21.7 and helped fund drug courts and treatment programs across the state. It also helped fund help for sexual assault victims in Jackson County and a five-county drug enforcement corps in southern Oregon.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., called the program a "vital source of funding for drug eradication efforts in Oregon" and said he's trying to rectify the cuts, mandated in a budget bill Congress passed in December. The Byrne grant was cut to $170 million this year. Oregon will get $1.2 million, down from $3.4 million last year.

Additionally, President Bush is proposing a 73 percent cut in government payments meant to offset logging declines. Douglas County Sheriff Jim Burge estimates the proposed reduction in timber payments would cut his $15 million budget in half.

Source: OregonLive
Copyright: 2008 Associated Press
Contact: AP Staff
Website: OregonLive.com: Everything Oregon
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