On July 1, 2015, Oregon will join Alaska, Colorado and Washington and become the fourth state that will actively allow recreational marijuana consumption and possession. As a resident of Oregon, it is important to know the specific regulations of Measure 91 because while there are similarities among each state, the guidelines do differ, sometimes significantly.
Where each state’s laws are concerned, the broader strokes of remaining prohibitions are the most similar. In Oregon—like Washington, Colorado and Alaska—consumption by those under 21 is illegal, as is possessing more than 1 ounce of marijuana in public. While possession in public is legal, consumption is not. Marijuana must be consumed in private residences.
Up to 8 ounces of marijuana in dried form is legal in the home, as is 16 ounces in a solid state, such as edibles, and 72 ounces in a liquid form, such as oils or beverages. Oregonians can also cultivate plants in their household, though the number of plants is capped at four.
For the time being, the biggest issue in Oregon is the gray area that it will fall into regarding hopeful consumers actually acquiring marijuana or marijuana-infused products. Like states before it, there will be a significant time frame between legalizing possession and licensing retail outlets. Possession will be legal on July 1, but the first recreational stores will not open until the third quarter of 2016, approximately 15 months later. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission has until January 4, 2016, to start accepting applications regarding the licensing of growers, distributors and sellers.
The first thought of many will be to travel north to Washington where recreational stores have been active for nearly a year. Though Portland police have stated that as long as people stick to Oregon’s legal limits there is “not an issue,” crossing state lines is still a federal crime.
There is a loophole though—it is perfectly legal to share or simply give away marijuana. Businesses are fully utilizing this rule to whet appetites and develop a customer base through vendor fairs and events.
On July 1, the Portland chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws is holding a Legalization Day event where local activists and medical marijuana providers will give away cannabis seeds to of-age adults. According to a statement made by the group, the purpose of this event, and the others to come, is not just to celebrate legalization but to also keep business out of the black market and out of Washington in the ensuing gray period.
On July 3, MCF Craft Brewing System is hosting an event called Weed the People that is similar to any brew fest type of event. Advance tickets are priced at $40, but once inside all marijuana products are free. Sampling is encouraged at the event, as it is a vendor fair that will provide free samples from growers, up to 7 ounces per attendee, vaporizer testing and edibles.
When it is all boiled down, there are seven important rules to keep in mind to be a responsible, legal marijuana user in Oregon:
- You must be over 21.
- You cannot consume marijuana products in public.
- You cannot operate a vehicle under the influence of marijuana.
- You cannot have more than four plants in a household.
- You cannot possess more than 1 ounce in public.
- You cannot possess more than 8 ounces dry, 16 ounces solid or 72 ounces liquid at home.
- You cannot buy or sell marijuana, until the retail structure is established.