Oregon voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a measure to legalize recreational marijuana. Here’s a Q&A on what happens next.
Q: Oregon legalized marijuana Tuesday. Does that mean the marijuana stashed in a drawer in my house is now legal to possess?
A: No. The legal protections for recreational marijuana possession do not take effect until July 1, 2015. Until then, possession of 1 to 4 ounces is considered a misdemeanor and possessing more is a felony. Possession of less than an ounce remains a non-criminal violation through July 1.
Q: OK, so what happens on July 1, 2015?
A: People 21 and older will be allowed to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana in a public place and up to 8 ounces in their home. The law also allows up to four marijuana plants per household.
Q: I’ve got a few marijuana plants for my own use. I’m not in the medical marijuana program. Are my plants legal now?
A: Not yet. Households will be allowed to have up to four plants, but that provision does not go into effect until July 1. A household, by the way, includes an apartment unit, a house or mobile home.
Q: Where can I buy marijuana?
A: Unless you’re an Oregon medical marijuana patient, there’s no way to legally obtain marijuana before July 1, 2015. The new law gives the Oregon Liquor Control Commission until Jan. 1, 2016 to draft rules and implement regulations for production, processing and selling marijuana. The measure says the state must begin receiving licensing applications by Jan. 4, 2016. The first batch of licenses should be issued during the first half of 2016.
Q: So how can I legally obtain marijuana?
A: For now, you can’t. But starting July 1, 2015, you’ll be able to grow your own or get it from someone who’s growing it. The law says anyone 21 or older can give away an ounce to someone else who’s 21 and older.
Q: Where can I buy marijuana plants?
A: For now, only medical marijuana patients in Oregon can legally buy clones, which are young cannabis plants. Once the state’s retail industry is up and running in the first half of 2016, anyone 21 and older will be able to go into stores that stock clones and buy one.
Q: After July 1, how much marijuana can I have?
A: Quite a bit. In addition to growing four plants and possessing up to 8 ounces at home or 1 ounce away from home, anyone 21 and older can possess up to 1 pound of solid edibles, or about 10 chocolate bars; 72 ounces of marijuana-infused liquid, or a six-pack of 12-ounce sodas; and 1 ounce of marijuana extract.
Q: I thought marijuana came in dried flowers. What are marijuana liquids and concentrates?
A: Marijuana comes in many forms, from sodas and pizzas to tinctures and lotions. Liquids include sodas and other beverages infused with marijuana. Extracts are a concentrated form of marijuana, such as butane hash oil. Extracts or concentrates are often consumed in vaporizer pens.
Q: How much is an ounce of marijuana?
A: Depends on whom you ask, but the most common answer is about 28 joints. One ounce would also yield 57 modest half-gram joints.
Q: After July 1, where can I legally consume marijuana?
A: Your home, your friend’s house or another private place.
Q: Can I light up a joint at a park?
A: No. You are not legally allowed to smoke in a public place now or after July 1. The law prohibits consumption in public places, which under state law includes hallways and lobbies of apartment buildings and hotels, on the street, in schools, amusement parks and public parks.
Q: How about TriMet? Can I get stoned on the bus?
A: Not legally. Public transportation is considered a public place.
Q: What about on my front porch?
A: Whether your front porch would be considered a public place may depend on the type of porch of you have and the particular circumstances. The drafters of Measure 91 copied the definition of “public place” from another statute, and there are various cases that interpret whether a particular front porch constitutes a public place. To be safe, you’re probably better off consuming marijuana on your back porch.
Q: What about work? Can I show up at my job stoned?
A: Measure 91 does not change Oregon employment law. Employers may mandate drug testing and require employees to follow drug-free workplace policies.
Q: Can I walk into the medical marijuana dispensary down the street to buy marijuana?
A: No. Measure 91 does not affect Oregon’s medical marijuana laws. Only cardholders in the medical marijuana program may buy marijuana from a state licensed dispensary.
Q: Recreational marijuana shops are open in Washington. Does that mean I can buy marijuana in Vancouver and drive back home to Portland?
A: No. Under federal law, you are not legally allowed to transport marijuana across state lines. If you buy marijuana in Washington, you are supposed to consume it there.
Q: If I’ve got four recreational marijuana plants at home, will the government be able to inspect my grow?
A: No. Home growers are exempt from regulation and taxation.
Q: Will the government keep a list of people who grow their own marijuana?
A: No. Unlike the Oregon medical marijuana program, which maintains a registry of cardholders, there is no registration process for recreational consumers or home growers.
Q: My friends are visiting from out of state. Can they legally possess marijuana while they’re in Oregon?
A: Yes. The law applies to anyone 21 and older.
Q: Can I ship it out of state?
A: No. Mailing or shipping pot out of state is off-limits for everyone, including medical marijuana patients. It violates both state and federal law.
— Noelle Crombie