When the federal government and local police raided James Bowman’s marijuana farm in 2012, they destroyed his crop and kept him from becoming the largest producer of medical marijuana in the state of Oregon. After the raid, the police did not charge Bowman with any crime, and he moved to the rural community of Wimer in Southern Oregon and began again.
Bowman named his new company BlueSky Gardens, and secured a tier two license, which allows him to farm cannabis on up to 40,000 square feet of land. He had just concluded a successful harvest recently, when misfortune struck again.
Bowman was asleep when four masked intruders disabled his security system and entered his property. They woke him up, broke his nose, gave him two black eyes, loaded hundreds of pounds of harvested cannabis into a U-Haul truck, and left.
Two of his workers arrived the next day to find the door left open, and their employer tied, beaten, and shivering. Bowman was taken to the hospital, where he spent several days recuperating. The assault marks the first time there has been a violent crime at a cannabis production facility licensed by the state of Oregon.
Bowman had taken all the required precautions against theft; his farm passed inspection by the liquor commission in August. His storage facility was padlocked, and authorities are currently trying to determine whether the relevant surveillance footage is still on the security system.
Once the criminal investigation has been concluded, the liquor commission will conduct an administrative investigation, said liquor commission spokesman, Mark Pettinger. Bowman has already filed a theft report with them, as required by law.
Other area growers were pleased to note that local law enforcement is responding rapidly to this case. The threat of theft is a constant concern for many cannabis businesses, particularly given how much these companies are forced to keep because they operate on a largely cash basis.
“Growers have been calling for law enforcement for years and received no response,” said Brent Kenyon, grower. “It’s absolutely awesome, the response we are seeing to this robbery.”