Oregon's cannabis laws are ever changing and evolving. Oregon is a state that decided back in 2015 to get on the legal cannabis bandwagon, and to get a piece of the pie when it came to marijuana's benefits. While it has been legal to use recreationally since July 1, 2015, and medically for some time before that, Oregon is still a state in transition as it moves from a place where marijuana was illegal, to a place where it is treated just like any other legal substance. Oregon's cannabis laws have changed immensely over the pass few years.
What Are Oregon's Marijuana Laws?
First off, marijuana is legal in Oregon both medically, and recreationally, at the state level. However, that doesn't mean it's something that's legal in every city and county. Individual jurisdictions within Oregon may decide to keep marijuana illegal, just as there are “dry” counties in states where it's legal to purchase alcohol. The laws vary by where you happen to be in the state, which is why it's important to see what your local laws are before you start setting up your smoking room.
There are other concerns Oregon residents need to keep in mind, as well. For example, anyone who wants to work in the recreational marijuana field, no matter what role they're taking, needs to have a marijuana worker permit. This applies to transporters, retail sales, wholesale, and other positions as well. Medical marijuana dispensaries won't require that kind of permit, because they already have other rules and regulations in place governing their behavior, hiring, etc. Additionally, anyone who wants to open a recreational marijuana business will have to get the proper license from the state, and have their permits in place for any local laws and concerns as well.
In short, opening and running a marijuana business in Oregon is legal, but it comes with just as much (if not more) red tape than opening a liquor store, tobacco dispensary, or other sort of substance-based business.
The Transition Period
While recreational marijuana legislation was passed some time ago in Oregon, it's important to remember that legislators can't just wave a magic wand to create an entire infrastructure overnight. So, while recreational marijuana has been legal for users for over a year now, it won't be until the fourth quarter of 2016 that the state will see the first recreational sellers finally opening their doors to the public.
There have been short-term solutions put forth by the government as stop-gap measures, though. For example, medical dispensaries (which are already up and running with their own rules and regulations) have been allowed to sell small quantities of recreational marijuana as a way to cover the public's wants between now, and when newly licensed businesses will be opening their doors. The law also clearly states that Oregon residents may grow up to four plants on their own property, and possess up to 8 ounces of marijuana in their homes, or as much as 1 ounce per person. The law also states that recreational marijuana cannot be smoked in public, which makes it similar to alcohol in many ways.
Ignorance of The Law is No Excuse
Before you decide to light up a joint in Oregon (or any other place where marijuana is legal), it's important for you to understand exactly what is, and what isn't, legal. Legalization doesn't mean you can simply do whatever you want; it just means there are now wider boundaries between legal, and illegal, behavior regarding marijuana use. So, as you would with anything else, make sure you read the literature, ask questions, and know what you're getting into before you buy, or use.
The law can change, so make sure it doesn't change when you're not looking. Oregon's cannabis laws will evolve as time goes on.
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