As of July 1, Oregon joined Colorado, Washington, and Alaska in making cannabis legal, after the passage of Measure 91, which passed last November. Although the commercial industry is not due to be legalized until October, the regulatory landscape is already taking shape with the passage of important legislation on recreational and medical cannabis.
Under the new Oregon law, anyone who is 21 or older may possess and grow cannabis. People can keep 8 ounces at home, and take up to 1 ounce with them away from home. Additionally, all households are allowed to cultivate four plants each.
Smoking cannabis in public places is strictly prohibited. Under Oregon state law, public places include the streets, publicly accessible parts of apartments and hotels, public transportation, and publicly visible front porches.
What also remains illegal for the time being is the sale of recreational cannabis. Those who possess cannabis are allowed to give it away, and gifts from friends and acquaintances are the most likely source for starter plants.
On June 30 the Oregon Senate passed key legislation to govern the commercial cannabis industry once it opens in October. Under Oregon’s successful House Bill 2041, there will be a sales tax of 17 percent on cannabis, with an option for local governments to add up to another 3 percent subject to voter approval. This is projected to generate $30 million in revenue for the state.
The sales tax established by House Bill 2041 is considered to be an improvement over the proposed harvest tax of Measure 91. It will be cheaper for consumers, and the lower prices will stimulate more sales, raising more revenue for the state than the harvest tax would have.
Medical cannabis patients, of course, are allowed to buy starter plants from dispensaries. Thanks to the successful Senate Bill 460, dispensaries will be made available for recreational consumers on October 1. From that date on, recreational consumers will be able to buy seeds, starter plants, and up to a quarter ounce of cannabis a day.
The industry will also be extensively regulated under House Bill 3400. Among a great many other things, this expansive bill provides for testing procedures to ensure consumer safety from contaminants, including mold and mildew. Both recreational and medical growers will also be subject to tracking requirements.
While Oregon has some time to go before residents and visitors can purchase recreational cannabis, legalization will allow many hobbyists to responsibly enjoy themselves without fear of legal recrimination. It is uncertain at the moment how weed tourism will grow in Oregon. As more people become accustomed to the new laws, it is likely that cannabis-friendly accommodations such as those provided by Bud and Breakfast will start to appear in areas where both medical marijuana and recreational pot are consumed.
By Michael Schultheiss