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September 26, 2023
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Property Owner Liabilities

Property Liabilities

We are looking to provide resources for property owners considering leasing their land for the cultivation of cannabis. We are finding many land leasers have been less than honest with the property owners about what they are cultivating, as well as what permitting and licensing have been obtained.

While the individuals leasing the land have been cited for multiple violations and in some cases arrested, the property owner can also be held liable for what is occurring on their land. This can include structures being built without permitting. In some cases, there could be criminal culpability depending on the circumstances. I am encouraging you to do your due diligence prior to leasing out your property, and to ensure those wishing to cultivate cannabis on your land are properly permitted and licensed.

A: Identifying the legality of a private operation can be complicated. The best way to ensure your land is properly permitted/licensed is to check the land leaser’s permit. Here are a few examples of what the permits/licenses should look like:

Reminder: ODA usually issues Grower and Grow Site registrations simultaneously and the grow site can’t be approved until a property for growing is already secured, so a potential lessee won’t have a registration to show a lessor before an agreement to use the land is finalized.

A: Depending on the circumstances the property owner could be held liable for Jackson County Code Enforcement violations, including nonpermitted structures built on their property. This includes a penalty of up to $3,000 per structure, with an additional $10,000 per structure if not remedied within 10 days. 

Jackson County Codified Ordinance 202.99 (a) Every person who commits, attempts to commit, conspires to commit, or aids or abets in the commission of any act declared in these Codified Ordinances to be a violation, whether individually or in connection with another person, or as principal, agent or accessory, shall be guilty of such violation. Every person who falsely, fraudulently, forcibly or willfully induces, causes, coerces, requires, permits or directs another to violate any provision of these Codified Ordinances shall likewise be guilty of such violation.

Jackson County Codified Ordinance 202.99 (f) Profiting from a Violation - If a person or corporation has gained money or property through the commission of a violation, instead of sentencing the defendant to pay the fine provided for in subsections (b), (c), or (d) of this Section, the court or hearings officer may, upon the recommendation of the County, sentence the defendant to pay an amount fixed by the court or hearings officer, not exceeding double the amount of the defendant’s gain from the commission of the violation. For purposes of this subsection, the defendant’s gain is the amount of money derived from or through commission of the violation, or the value of the property on which the violation was committed at the time of citation. “Value of the property” means the market value of the property on which the violation was committed at the time of citation, or, if the market value cannot reasonably be ascertained, the assessed value of such property as shown on the County’s tax records.
View all the Jackson County codified ordinances.

A: In some cases, there could be penalties levied by Oregon’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), depending on the circumstances. Listed below are a few of the penalties and dollar amounts you could be liable for when breaking Oregon Administrative Rules (OAR).

OAR 437-001-0171 Determination of Penalty - Failure to Register a Farm Labor Camp/Facility. If an operator, employer, or contractor fails to register a Farm Labor Camp or facility with Oregon OSHA as required in Division 4/J, 437-004-1120(5)(b), a penalty of not less than $250 nor more than $12,675 shall be assessed.

OAR 437-004-1120(5)(b)(B) - requires housing and related facilities that were not registered in the previous year, to call Oregon OSHA to request a consultation visit to the housing before they can be registered. Oregon OSHA will register housing and related facilities not previously registered only after a pre-occupancy consultation that finds the housing or facility to be substantially in compliance with all applicable safety and health rules.

OAR 437-001-0175 Determination of Penalty - Willful or Egregious Violation For a willful violation, the Administrator, after considering the facts of the violation, may assess a penalty of not less than $8,900, nor more than $126,749. The base penalty will normally be multiplied by 25. For egregious violations, the Administrator may assess a separate penalty after any appropriate adjustments based on the employer's size, for each instance of a violation.

Review all of OSHA’s General Administrative Rules.



A: In some cases, the property owner can incur civil and criminal penalties based on water use violations that occur on their property. The local District 13 Watermaster’s office will investigate these violations. Below are links to the civil and criminal statutes regarding water usage.

The most common violation is unauthorized use of water:

  • ORS 540.720 Unauthorized Use or Waste of Water: No person shall use without authorization water to which another person is entitled, or willfully waste water to the detriment of another. The possession or use of such water without legal right shall be prima facie evidence of the guilt of the person using it.
  • Criminal: Violation of ORS 540-720 can be a Class B misdemeanor under ORS 540.990

  • Civil: Violation of ORS 540-720 can also include civil penalties in the sum of up to $1000 per day if not corrected within the specified time. OAR 690-260-0060


A: The Jackson County Development Services website has two pages dedicated to cannabis FAQs:

If you have any further questions, please contact the relevant agency.

  • For building/property code questions call Jackson County Code Enforcement at (541) 774-6906.
  • For labor/workplace questions call Oregon’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) at (503) 231-2017.
  • For water use questions call our local District 13 Watermaster’s office at (541) 774-6880.