Southwest Oregon Pot Growers Eye Potential For Tourism

Article by The Chronicle Herald

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Marijuana could join vineyards and pear orchards as Rogue Valley agricultural mainstays in southwest Oregon and draw in more tourists, pot growers say.

“I was a parent who said, ‘Don’t smoke this crap,“’ Dewey Wilson, 61, told the Mail Tribune (http://bit.ly/2cXNKk8), noting that a decade ago he considered legalization of marijuana unimaginable. “I never thought this would happen. I’ve come full circle on the issue.”

Wilson, who’s growing 1,100 cannabis plants with a potential value of more than $2 million along the Rogue River, said he and his son began smoking marijuana for medical reasons.

He spent $2.5 million to buy the property last year and has spent another $500,000 on equipment, including surveillance cameras. He’s also converted an old barn that once housed cows to be used for tourism if the state allows it. He calls his farm Tomato Hill Co., or THC, which is the active ingredient in marijuana.

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission says Jackson and adjacent Josephine counties have about half of the 258 indoor and outdoor grow sites in the state. And Jackson County has about a third of all the large commercial outdoor marijuana operations.

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