The west coast of the United States has been slowly heading to the rule of an ancient herb, in many ways parting the legal waters, leading safe passage for those who wish to consume. Fully entrenched, adult recreational marijuana use is making rounds through state, county, city, and even district regulator offices — where statutes, permits, licensing, and interpretation of the voter-backed initiative are laid to paper, to be once more disseminated unto the public. Thus far, each state has done things a little different.
Like Alaska and Colorado, Oregon marijuana laws allow growing, indoor or outside. And it is from here that we shall begin our exploration into the wonderful world of indoor growing laws in Oregon, from them guidelines that encourage cultivation success to avoiding the pesky legal penalties.
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Considerations under Oregon Measure 91
Under Oregon Measure 91, adults are allowed to cultivate, possess, and consume cannabis, as well as “gift” or otherwise depart with seeds, seedlings, clones, and up to an ounce of usable marijuana (defined as leaves and buds). While city, county, and local governments have the expressed authority to implement bans on outdoor grows, banning all grows remains prohibited under the measure. With this single certainty in mind, let’s take a look into what else Measure 91 says about indoor personal cultivation, and some of the factors therein to consider.
Plant counts per residence
Indoor marijuana grow laws in Oregon exist beyond the threshold of twenty-one trips around the sun, earning you the right to be able to grow your own cannabis plants. As an adult, you are allowed to grow up to four plants and this is also the limit per residence. This means that if there is four adults under one roof, the limit is still four plants, not sixteen. “Residence”, as defined, does include apartments, condos, and townhomes.
Landlords may prohibit such activities
The state forbids full-on prohibition where home growing is concerned, yet, Measure 91 does not prevail over any property laws when it comes to a landlord-tenant relationship, leaving it at the discretion of landlords and property managers to dictate what is acceptable on their property and what isn’t. Since cannabis is still regarded as a drug by the federal government, its use cannot be protected by the government housing authorities and is, therefore, easily ousted by rental properties within lease agreements.
No extraction or manufacture of cannabis concentrates
As cannabis further finds itself an attached to the legalization movement, which is gaining momentum nationwide, concentrates are the rising star — the vehicle with which dabs and oil pens came to fruition. While there exist a torrent of videos and how-to guides on the internet, the chief concern when it comes to concentrates is one of public safety.
Commons methods of extraction utilize volatile and flammable substances, which have the potential to combust, explode, and otherwise injure the people and structures in their immediate proximity. This remains a concern to the DEA, public safety officials, and even landlords, who are at the risk of structural damage, fires, and a possible insurance nightmare. In short: just because having an indoor marijuana grow is allowed in Oregon doesn’t mean that you can also make your own concentrates with the final product.
Not allowed within 1000 feet of a school
In efforts to minimize impacts on youth communities, Oregon has chosen to uphold the federal guidelines prohibiting drugs within 1000 feet of schools. This applies equally to meth labs or indoor or outdoor cannabis cultivation. While some legal leniency for at-home out-of-sight cultivators does exist, the penalties if the state chose to prosecute can include up to 20 years in prison and fines up to $375,000. As a result, school-zone landlord concerns may once more be compounded.
Possession limits apply, both in public and at home
As an adult, you can possess up to one ounce in public without fear of prosecution. At home, you can have up to eight ounces of usable marijuana; or ½ pound. If you choose to grow all four plants simultaneously, the end yield may push you past the possession limits as defined in Measure 91. If you are caught in excess of possession limits, fines, charges, and even jail time are real possibilities.
As the state doesn’t differentiate between the stage of the plant life cycle and total number of plants an individual can grow, a good way to avoid excess from your very own indoor Oregon marijuana grow is to rotate when you plant and when you harvest. If it’s just you, a good question to ask is: do I need over 3,600 grams of marijuana every few months? If the answer is no, try approximating your current use by weight. Knowing the volume and frequency of use, special circumstances/ margin of error (think birthdays or crop failure), and the anticipated plant yield (for the sake of estimation, lets say 2.5oz/plant) will allow you to make informed decisions on how much you need, which informs growing choices; a win-win.
Discretion is key, and the doors must lock
Per section 56 of Measure 91:
“(1) No person may produce, process, keep, or store homegrown marijuana or homemade marijuana products if the homegrown marijuana or homemade marijuana products can be readily seen by normal unaided vision from a public place.
(2) A violation of subsection (1) of this section is a Class B violation.
A Class B violation is a civil penalty, like a speeding ticket, that carries a fine rather than a criminal proceeding. According to oregonlaws.org, such a fine carries a cost of $260. While outdoor grows may require fencing to obstruct the view, indoor grows under Oregon marijuana laws are at the mercy of the windows or other openings near them.
Before you choose your grow site, make sure you consider all angles that the space can be viewed from the inside and out.
Growing costs are the final consideration when navigating Oregon laws on indoor marijuana growing. An advantage to growing outside: free light, the first place that running an indoor grow accumulates cost. Lights, in their many remarkable varieties, vary in price, size, light spectrum, light intensity, and overall luminescence. And yet, lights use electricity, the second cost consideration that affects the viability of an indoor grow. Increasing your monthly energy bills slightly will allow you to grow your own weed, which can save money, but it is a cost all the same.
While we are on the subject of electricity, you also need ventilation, fans, and (possibly) humidifiers. In running all this additional, sometimes high wattage, equipment for long periods daily, not only does electric costs rise, but so does the possibility of an electrical failure, where the circuit breaker just can’t pull that much energy. The DEA has noted that this causes some growers to adjust wiring, which can cause fire hazards, which can further urk landlords and state safety officials.
It is also important to note that marijuana thrives in warm temperatures with plenty of humidity. If this doesn’t describe the climate of your home, growing marijuana may require that you make concessions, like heating one room with space heaters while using an air conditioner to cool the rest of the home. This can again compound electrical usage costs. The use of a humidifier may also increase structural risk of mold, which can develop into a vibrant health issue for both you and your plants.
As always, weigh all costs, risks, and benefits. In Oregon, as well as across the world, marijuana smokes the same, making it up to you to create the best experience for you. If growing your cannabis adds to the experience, find your green thumb and nurse them greens, friends.