Marijuana freedoms, constraints.
Recreational marijuana use in Oregon has been legal since July 1, 2015, but with the new freedoms - and possible economic gains from a fledgling new industry - come some big rules, too.
Only retailers licensed by the OLCC (Oregon Liquor Control Commission) legally may sell marijuana and other cannabis-related products.
Users must be 21 or older to buy it, have only so much in their possession, and refrain from smoking pot in public places.
To date the OLCC has been overrun with applications for marijuana sales and production. But more recently the agency also has been putting teeth to regulations governing recreational marijuana in Oregon.
"We've spent a significant amount of time doing licensing. Now we're shifting resources over to doing compliance work," says Mark Pettinger, a spokesman for the OLCC. "It's more labor intensive and painstaking. We're working on it now, but it's taking longer to do."
For both consumers and retailers, Oregon's recreational marijuana laws are "continuing education," Pettinger allows. He says to beware, for example, of illegal commercial marketing of cannabis beer, coffee or other non-cannabis products mixed with marijuana. "You can't do that," he says.
Yet with time, Oregon may well experience economic gains from legal marijuana sales, believes state senator Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene.
He and nine other state legislators serve on a joint committee to oversee legalization of marijuana in compliance with Oregon Ballot Measure 91, which voters approved in November of 2014.
Prozanski is zealous about making sure Oregon's new recreational marijuana law does not diminish or cross-pollinate with the state's medical marijuana law established in 1999.
But he also believes the tried-and-true quality of Oregon-grown marijuana could foster an industry on par with the state's wine and craft-beer markets. To that end he's behind proposed Senate Bill 1042, which in effect would allow Oregon, Washington and California to share marijuana commerce and enforcement.
Under current law, it's illegal to take marijuana from Oregon to any other state.
Similar to how alcohol became legal after Prohibition, marijuana likely will become normalized across the nation with time, Prozanski believes.
What's legal at a glance
People wanting to know more about the freedoms and restrictions of recreational marijuana use in Oregon will find a concise, easy-to-read overview at whatslegaloregon.com. Highlights from the OLCC website include possession limits, how and where to buy, home growing, gifting and other consumer legalities:
Anyone 21 and older may possess, use and buy recreational marijuana at home or on their private property.
Public use of marijuana remains illegal, such as at hotels, along highways and streets, at schools and parks, bus stops and amusement parks.
Buyers must get their marijuana and related cannabinoid products from an OLCC-licensed retail shop.
Retailers are required by law to track an individual's purchases of marijuana, but newly passed Oregon Senate Bill 863 prohibits the retailers from recording, retaining or transferring a consumer's personal information, such as displayed on a passport or driver's license, unless by consent.
If purchased from an OLCC retailer, home growers may have up to four marijuana plants per household. The plants can be grown from immature plants or from seed.
Landlords and employers retain the right to prohibit and/or govern marijuana use or growth on their properties.
Limits on purchases
Limits of marijuana purchases per day include 1 ounce of usable marijuana (dried leaves and flowers ready to smoke); 5 grams of cannabinoid extracts or concentrates; 16 ounces of cannabinoid product in solid form; 72 ounces of cannabinoid in liquid form; 10 marijuana seeds; and four immature plants.
People of legal age may purchase marijuana plants and products as gifts. The amount of the gift must fall within personal possession limits, and without cost of any kind - money, donations, tips raffles, barter, etc. - to whomever receives it.
Marijuana extracts may be purchased as gifts from an OLCC outlet, but homemade extracts may not be gifted.
Limits on possession
While in public, recreational marijuana users of legal age may have in their possession 1 ounce of usable marijuana; 1 ounce of cannabinoid extracts or concentrates if purchased from an OLCC retailer; 16 ounces of cannabinoid in solid form; 72 ounces of liquid cannabinoid; 10 marijuana seeds; and four immature marijuana plants.
On private property, the same possession limits apply, with one exception: users may have 8 ounces of usable marijuana in their possession as opposed to the 1 ounce allowed in public.
Extra scrutiny, law enforcement
Driving under the influence of marijuana is penalized as a DUII (driving under the influence of intoxicants). "Influence" includes being intoxicated, drugged or impaired. However, motorists 21 and older may have a legal amount of marijuana in their car.
Marijuana may not be purchased from another state and brought into Oregon, nor can the product be taken from Oregon to another state - even to California and Washington, where recreational marijuana use also is legal.
Airports may allow carry-on marijuana - in legal possession amounts - for flights within the state. TSA agents consult with police to make sure passengers boarding planes for in-state flights do not have more marijuana in their possession than allowed by law.
The Oregon Board of Pharmacy bans the sale and possession of synthetic marijuana, which is comprised of various chemicals apart from the cannabis plant family. Chemicals in synthetic marijuana have been added to the pharmacy board's list of controlled substances.
Marijuana retailers may not be within 1,000 feet of a school, and must operate within local zoning laws.
Marijuana may not be legally grown on federal lands, such as those managed by the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service.
Enforcing marijuana laws is left to local jurisdictions and state police.
The OLCC enforces actions against licensed businesses that violate laws related to the growing, possessing and selling of marijuana. MORE ONLINE Key websites for recreational marijuana use in Oregon: whatslegaloregon.com: Consumer education on Oregon's marijuana law oregon.gov/olcc/marijuana: All regulations governing Oregon's marijuana law
Researched and written by The Register-Guard staff; contact at firstname.lastname@example.org.