Oregon has joined the ranks in legalizing recreational marijuana. During the November 2014 election, voters ended Oregon’s prohibition of marijuana with the passing of Measure 91. The Control, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana and Industrial Hemp Act “Measure 91” amends state law to legalize the possession, sale, and cultivation of marijuana. The measure also charges the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) with the task of establishing, regulating, and licensing marijuana businesses.
Possession and Cultivation Allowances
Once the measure goes into effect, Oregon adults 21 years of age or older will be permitted to possess up to 8 ounces of marijuana and grow up to 4 plants per residence. These amounts are absolute limits per household regardless of the number of people residing there.
Individuals will be allowed to carry up to 1 ounce of marijuana in public but cannot consume it in public. Adults may also gift – not sell – up to 1 ounce of dried marijuana, 16 ounces of marijuana-infused edibles in solid form, or 72 ounces in liquid form to other adults.
Total purchase amount is currently set at 1 ounce and may be bought only at state licensed retailers. No marijuana retailers have yet been licensed.
The OLCC needs time to consult with Oregon’s State Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Health Authority on establishing and implementing the terms of the initiative. Therefore, Measure 91 will not go into effect until July 1, 2015.
The OLCC is scheduled to begin accepting business license applications by January 4, 2016. One time application and annual licensing fees are $250 and $1000, respectively. It is not yet clear how the Commission will grant licenses, whether by merit or lottery. Neither has there has been any indication of how many licenses will be issued or if there will be a cap.
The Commission retains authority to disqualify applicants or disallow licenses at its discretion.
Four types of marijuana businesses will be licensed and regulated.
- Marijuana producers – grow marijuana for wholesale
- Marijuana processors – manufacture extracts, edibles, and other marijuana-infused products
- Marijuana wholesalers- purchase marijuana and infused products to be sold at retailers
- Marijuana Retailers – brick-and-mortar businesses where adults ages 21 years and older can purchase recreational marijuana and related items
A licensee may hold multiple licenses and license types.
All marijuana sold at wholesale will be subject to an excise tax.
- Marijuana flowers – $35 per ounce
- Marijuana leaves – $10 per ounce
- Immature plants – $5 per plant
Taxes will be adjusted to accommodate inflation. Additionally, the Commission is allowed to adjust tax amounts as it sees fit.
Revenue collected from licensing and sales will be used to reimburse the OCLL for the cost of initiative administration. Remaining funds will be distributed in the following ways:
- Common School Fund – 40%
- Mental Health Alcoholism and Drug Services Account – 20%
- State Police Account – 15%
- Local city and county law enforcement – 20%
- Oregon Health Authority – 5%
As outlined in the act, each local municipal government is permitted to enact its own marijuana laws. Localities may choose to ban or limit marijuana sales, production, and use.
Check with individual city and county websites for a specific list of local limitations and restrictions.
Penalties for marijuana-related infractions range from fines to possible jail or prison sentences. They are dependent on the severity of the offense and the number of an individual’s past marijuana-related convictions.
The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws has compiled a specific list of current Oregon marijuana laws and penalties.
- Public consumption of marijuana is illegal. Recreational marijuana is reserved for personal use within a private residence by adults age 21 years or older.
- Because remains illegal under federal law, it is not permitted on any federally owned property such as national parks, forests, monuments, or lakes.
- Marijuana may not be transported across state lines.
- Operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana is prohibited and will result in a DUI.