With the passing of Measure 91 and Senate Bill 460, existing medical marijuana dispensaries are allowed to conduct recreational sales, permitting adults 21 and older to purchase and possess marijuana (in addition to serving medical patients).
In Oregon, possession laws are different for marijuana use at home versus away from home, which extend to edibles and other marijuana products. Because of this, it is advised that smokers who possess cannabis when away from home should always have an I.D. on them for proof of age. For flower, you can have up to 8 oz at home and 1 oz away from home. For edibles the limit is 1 lb of solids, 72 ounces of liquid, and 1 oz of extract. If you happen to have more than these amounts and get caught, the penalties aren't pretty and can include fines of up to $6,250 and/or prison time.
If you're 21 years old and have a valid government ID, you can buy up to a quarter oz of weed at a time. For edibles, you can purchase one unit of up to 15 mg of THC and for extracts the cap is 1000 mg per unit.
Why? Measure 91 is still new, so Oregon's purchasing laws have been in a transitional period. Before, the only way you could obtain weed legally was to get a medical marijuana card, grow it yourself or have someone give it to you. However as of October 1st, 2015 (thanks to Senate Bill 460), you can buy limited quantities of recreational weed from medical marijuana dispensaries, as long as you're 21 years old or older with a valid government-issued ID -- up to a quarter of an ounce of weed to be specific.
As of June 2nd, 2016, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) allows registered medical marijuana dispensaries to sell edibles and extracts to individuals who are 21 years of age or older (in addition to flower). Only one edible unit can be sold to an individual customer, containing no more than total of 15mg of THC in the form of edibles or 1000mg per unit of marijuana extracts -- almost triple the serving size limit that will be implemented later this fall. This new rule will be in effect from June 2nd until December 31st, 2016, when overall regulation of the recreational marijuana market will be fully transferred to the OLCC.
As previously mentioned, licensed retail stores selling recreational marijuana will open sometime in the third quarter of 2016 according to the OLCC. These OLCC- licensed stores will also sell edibles and extracts once they open, however the state is pushing to limit individual edible products at 5mg of THC per piece (or 50mg per package), which is about half of what is allowed to be sold in Colorado and Washington.
Since Oregon retail stores won't open until late 2016, the hours they'll keep are still unknown. More than likely, the operating hours of retail stores will mirror those of medical marijuana dispensaries in the same area. Hours can vary by location and dispensary -- some are open 24 hours a day, while others close around 8 or 9 p.m.
Smoking marijuana in public in Oregon is illegal, even if you're smoking with an often-discreet vape pen. As a result, you can only consume at home or on private property. This means no bars, community parks, public outdoor smoking areas, on buses and airplanes, or federal land. Getting busted smoking weed in public could get you a $1,000 fine.
Counties and Cities Banning Recreational Marijuana Sales
Oregon has adopted a similar policy as Colorado, which allows for local cities and counties to decide for themselves if they will allow recreational marijuana stores. Please note that cities and counties have their own laws, so a county may ban recreational stores, but a city located within that county may allow them. Vice versa, a city may ban but the county may allow. Personal possession is allowed regardless if a city/county allows recreational stores or not.
Cities with Temporary Ban on Recreational Stores:
- Eagle Point
- Grants Pass
- Happy Valley
- Junction City
- Lake Oswego
- Mill City
- Mount Angel
- Myrtle Point
- Oregon City
- Sweet Home
- West Linn
Cities Banning Recreational Stores:
- Baker City
- Canyon City
- Grass Valley
- Island City
- John Day
- Jordan Valley
- Klamath Falls
- Mount Vernon
- North Powder
- Prairie City
Driving Under the Influence
In Oregon, driving with any amount of THC in your system could get you a driving under the influence (DUI) charge. However, because THC can stay in your system for up to 30 days, it makes it hard to prove whether or not you smoked prior to or while driving. The best way to avoid this is to not smoke and drive at all. If you are caught driving under the influence of marijuana you could face jail time and fines as well as a suspended driver's license or the judge could order an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle at your cost. Oregon has taken a hard stance on this and considers any presence of THC to be evidence of impairment.
The legalization of recreational marijuana through Measure 91 doesn't affect Oregon's medical marijuana program. The Oregon Medical Marijuana Act protects users from criminal charges concerning possession, production, and delivery. To apply for a medical marijuana card visit the Oregon Public Health Department's website and fill out an application. You'll need to have your doctor complete the Attending Physician Statement. You'll also need a valid photo ID and $200 for the application fee. If you receive benefits from the government, like food stamps, this fee can be reduced. You'll receive your card within 30 days after submitting your application.
In terms of reciprocity, Oregon doesn't recognize out-of-state medical marijuana cards by law. However, a recent court of appeals decision may have overturned that, but it remains unclear. For those trying to use their Oregon medical marijuana cards out of state, only the following states will recognize the card:
- Rhode Island
Transporting and Exporting Marijuana
Although there are no hard and fast rules about smoking in your car or transporting open containers marijuana in your car, your best bet is to avoid both.
Oregon will more than likely look to other states that have legalized recreational marijuana, such as Colorado, for guidance on marijuana open-container laws. To be safe until the law is clearer, don't drive with a marijuana container or accessory that is open, has a broken seal, or is missing contents. Also, it's wise to not drive with any evidence that consumption has taken place within your vehicle.
When it comes to exporting marijuana, the federal laws are very clear: don't transport marijuana across state lines, even to another state where recreational marijuana is legal, like Washington.
Federal Land and Properties in Oregon
Remember what we said about marijuana still being illegal in the eyes of the federal government. That means that your right to possess recreational marijuana does not apply on federal or tribal lands in Oregon. That includes national forests, national parks, national monuments, military bases, federal courthouses, and other federal properties. You can't consume, grow, transport, or possess marijuana on any federal lands managed by federal agencies like the National Parks Service and the Bureau of Land Management. If you're caught cultivating or lighting up at a federal park you could face a hefty fine of up to $250,000 and jail time.
Until December 2016, customers can purchase a 1/4 oz of recreational marijuana and edibles from a medical marijuana store. But what about cultivating it yourself? The good news is that with Measure 91 you can grow up to four plants per household, but they must be kept out of public view. If you grow outside, hide them with a tall fence or other barrier. If you grow more than four plants and are caught, you could face fines of up to $125,000 and prison time.
Note that if you live within 1,000 feet of a school, you are forbidden from growing at your residence, however this law could change in the future. In the meantime, don't even think about doing it or you could face 25 years in prison and up to $375,000 in fines.