All Oregon hemp growers should expect an inspection visit very soon from ODA, who will likely invite law enforcement, OLCC, and potentially several other administrative agencies to tag along. These agency inspections are pursuant to the presumptive testing standards used last year in Operation Table Rock (here are links to our Operation Table RockPart IandIIposts for more information).
Oregon’s new version of Operation Table Rock began in late July. The administrative agencies began inspections in the Northwest corner of the state and completed inspections of growers as far south as Eugene. Jackson and Josephine counties are currently under inspection, and growers across the rest of Oregon should also prepare accordingly. In addition to ODA and OLCC, we are receiving reports that county code enforcement is using these visits as an occasion to come onto the property and give citations for alleged building and zoning code violations. We are also receiving reports of OR-OSHA investigators at some of these visits as well.
Some reminders of your rights during these visits:
- If the agency representatives represent that they have an administrative warrant, you have the right to view and retain a copy of the warrant.
- Administrative warrants are relatively easy for non-law enforcement agencies to get. They are not the same as a warrant to gather evidence of criminal activity, although agency personnel will try to imply otherwise.
- You have the right to a reasonable amount of time to read and understand the warrant so that you can determine that each person who is on your premises has a lawful right to be there and ensure that all agency personnel do not exceed the scope of the warrant.
- To the extent there are agency personnel present who are not employees or agents of the agency that requested the warrant, you have the right to ask them to come back another time to conduct their inspection. Law enforcement personnel generally have a right to accompany the personnel of the agency that requested the warrant, but only to the extent necessary for agency personnel’s physical protection.
- Request a business card from all agency personnel on your premises. If they do not have a business card, take a video with your cell phone of them identifying their name and agency they work for (or refusing to do so).
- You have the right to audio and video record agency personnel tasked with collecting the samples for presumptive testing. While on video, make sure to identify where on the premises they are collecting samples from (for example, identifying the field, greenhouse, or harvest lot number). If the agency personnel appear to be favoring the collection of samples from the most robust and healthy-looking plants, note that in the video.
- Request that all agency personnel remain in your eyesight or that of a trusted employee at all times. An administrative warrant allows agency personnel to enter the premises – it does not allow them free and unfettered access to all buildings (especially residences), only those areas reasonably necessary to conduct the activity specified in the warrant.
You can reach Kevin Jacoby at (503) 488-5424 or firstname.lastname@example.org.