Marijuana is Legal in Oregon (But Not Yet.)

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Yes, Oregon voted in favor of legalizing marijuana last night. But don’t light up that celebratory joint just yet: you cannot legally possess marijuana in Oregon until July 1, 2015, unless you have a medical marijuana card. The section of Measure 91 which covers recreational possession of marijuana passed, but it’s not in effect. Not just yet. So if you’re caught between now and July 1, 2015, here’s what you’re facing:

Less than 1 ounce = violation (the penalty is a fine, no jail)
1 – 4 ounces = misdemeanor
More than 4 ounces = felony

Many courts, including Multnomah County, still offer diversion and deferred sentencing options as a way to avoid a conviction.

After July 1, 2015, you can legally possess:
Up to 1 ounce on your person
Up to 8 ounces of marijuana at home

IT’S ALL IN THE DETAILS

You must be 21 years old or older to buy or use marijuana
You may not use it in public or in your car
You may use it at home, but away from public view (no standing in front of a window, out in front of the garage, etc.)
You may not use it while driving. It’s still illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana.
You may grow up to 4 plants.

WHEN WILL THE SHOPS BE OPEN?

Most likely shops will not be open by July 1, 2015. This is because the OLCC has until 2016 to issue business licenses to marijuana sellers. So, while you may possess it on July 1, 2015, buying it may be difficult. And don’t buy it in Washington and carry it back: it’s still illegal to transport drugs, even when the drugs are legal in the adjacent states, across state lines. Transporting marijuana across state lines is a violation of federal law and could result in federal prison time.

So while many people are celebrating the passage of Measure 91, just make sure you know the rules. A little bit of knowledge can go a long way in keeping you – and your loved ones — legal and safe.