The streets of Oregon will forever be changed beginning this Thursday, October 1st as it introduces recreational sales for cannabis into the state.
More than 200 of Oregon’s 345 medical marijuana dispensaries have notified the Oregon Health Authority of plans to sell recreational marijuana starting on Thursday.
Oregon passed Measure 91 in November. The law legalized possessing and growing limited amounts of cannabis for personal use starting July 1. But the state won’t be ready to begin regulated sales until next year. As a temporary stop-gap and to curb black market sales, medical dispensaries are allowed to conduct early sales of recreational marijuana tax-free.
Taxes on recreational sales won’t start until Jan. 4, when a 25 percent tax on retail sales will be added.
Adults over 21 can buy a quarter ounce of buds. Candy bars, brownies and other marijuana edibles, as well as extracts, concentrates and cannabis-infused products are not available in early sales. Customers must provide a valid, government-issued photo ID as proof of age.
Ten cities and two counties have prohibited early retail sales of marijuana, including Douglas and Harney counties, Gresham, Brownsville, John Day, Junction City, La Grande, Reedsport and Sherwood.
Most dispensaries in Oregon are thrilled to start offering recreational sales, hoping to boost their revenue in an already over-saturated industry. But, they say, it’s hard to know what impact adult recreational sales will have.
A huge concern for dispensaries is the ability to stock enough flowers to meet the growing demand. A shortage of cannabis is also the biggest worry for those in the medical marijuana community, who fear the start of recreational sales will negatively impact medical marijuana patients.
Under Measure 91, starting July 1, anyone over 21 in Oregon can possess up to 8 ounces of usable cannabis, such as dried buds at home and up to one ounce outside the home. You can consume cannabis at home or on private property. You can grow up to four plants per residence at home out of public view. You can make brownies and other edible products at home and receive them as gifts. And you can give away marijuana and receive it as a gift.
WHAT’S NOT LEGAL?
It is illegal to buy or sell recreational marijuana and to transport it across state lines. That includes buying some from a legal retail outlet in Washington state and bringing it home to Oregon. It is illegal to smoke cannabis in public or to drive while medicated. Measure 91 will not protect you if your employer prohibits drug use, especially if there is a federal connection, because marijuana remains illegal under federal law. And if your landlord prohibits smoking in your apartment, you can be evicted for smoking marijuana, but not for eating it.
Recreational pot has also been legalized in Washington, Colorado and Alaska, though Alaska is still figuring out how to regulate the industry.