Come July 1, the State of Oregon will allow legal possession of recreational marijuana of up to eight ounces and home growing of up to four plants per household. However, where to buy the marijuana is a different matter because under the new law, it’s still illegal to sell recreational marijuana.
When Measure 91 was approved, the voters left the job of writing the rules for pot shops to the Legislature and the state liquor control agency which have yet to figure it out. It is quite likely that July 1 will pass without having the answers of where and how to buy marijuana legally.
The voters approval of Measure 91 makes Oregon the fourth state to legalize recreational marijuana, following Colorado, Washington state and Alaska. Washington, D.C., also allows possession of personal amounts, though not sales.
Outlook on legal marijuana seems bright. Legal pot measure is on the ballot next year in Nevada and there are plans for 2016 initiatives in half a dozen more states that include the biggest prize, California. Other states where votes are possible in this year or in 2016 are Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Michigan, and Ohio.
Oregon is a trailblazer in the legal marijuana advocacy when it “decriminalized” small amounts of pot in 1973. In 1998, medical marijuana was legalized and in 2013, the State approved dispensaries to sell medical marijuana. All along, farmers in southwestern Oregon were growing world-class weed some of it was for medicinal use and some, according to authorities, went to the black market. Then, in November, voters approved Measure 91 by a substantial 12 percentage points margin.
The Oregon Liquor Control Commission is writing rules for growing and selling pot and the Legislature’s joint marijuana committee voted to start retail sales by October this year. The existing medical marijuana dispensaries, now more than 300 strong, can readily serve as sales outlets. Lawmakers, however, say it will take a few months to write rules for the medical dispensaries to sell to non-patients, but the fall crop should be in by Oct. 1, ensuring supplies for recreational and medical customers alike.