Evolving Oregon recreational or medical marijuana possession or use laws

New state marijuana laws are detailed and complex.

Oregon's evolving marijuana- and cannabis-related laws are currently in a dynamic state of flux. The laws and regulations are literally changing on a day-to-day basis. This article briefly outlines current recreational and medical possession and use laws only and does not cover those concerning commercial production and distribution of marijuana products.

Personal use of marijuana and marijuana products

Adults 21 and older in Oregon, regardless of whether they reside in the state or are just visiting, may possess up to one ounce of marijuana. However, marijuana may not be smoked or otherwise consumed in public places or in public view.

Adults, again residents or visitors, may lawfully purchase the following products from any licensed marijuana dispensary offering sales to the public:

  • Up to 7 grams of marijuana dried flowers (buds)
  • One edible containing no more than 15 mg of THC
  • One prefilled extract receptacle containing no more than 1 gram of THC extract (oil etc.)
  • Topical balms, rubs or oils that contain less than 6 percent THC

Personal use cultivation of marijuana

Adults 21 and older in Oregon may lawfully grow in or at their residence, outside the view of the public, up to four plants per household. In this regard, they may also possess the following amounts of marijuana and/or marijuana products:

  • No more than eight ounces of dried flowers (buds)
  • No more than 72 ounces of liquids infused with THC or cannabis
  • No more than 16 ounces of solid goods (edibles) infused with THC or cannabis
  • No more than 1 ounce of cannabis extract oil

Medical use: Patients/caregivers/growers

Any adult, whether a resident or visitor, may participate in Oregon's Medical Marijuana Program. To qualify, one must first be diagnosed by a physician with a recognized debilitating medical condition. The individual must then register with the Oregon Health Authority and obtain the provided Registry Identification Card. Once registered as a patient, an individual may:

  • Possess up to 6 mature marijuana plants
  • Possess any number of immature marijuana plants, seedlings or seeds
  • Designate a person or persons as the patient's Caregiver and Grower.

A Patient, their Caregiver, and their Grower may together possess up to a total of 24 ounces of "usable" marijuana (including "hash"). All of this marijuana belongs legally to the patient or the grower.

A Grower may grow for up to four patients

Marijuana grow sites are limited in size depending on their location. Urban gardens in residential areas may contain no more than 12 plants, unless the specific garden had more plants (up to 24) registered at that location prior to January 2015. Gardens in nonurban residential locations may contain no more than 48 plants, unless more were registered (up to 96) at that location prior to January 2015.

Growsites must now also comply with a registration and reporting process managed by the Oregon Health Authority.

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law

All Marijuana possession, cultivation and distribution remain illegal under federal law. While it is currently the policy of the federal government to allow individuals to participate in both the recreational and medical marijuana programs of enacting states, this is just a policy. People continue to be prosecuted for the possession and distribution of small amounts of marijuana occurring on federal property within the state of Oregon. Also individuals involved in larger scale marijuana operations both recreational and medical have and will continue to raise the suspicions of federal law enforcement personnel. There is a pervasive belief held by local federal law enforcement that a significant portion of the total marijuana and marijuana products cultivated or produced in Oregon are being unlawfully diverted out of state.

Facing marijuana crimes in Oregon

While both state and federal prosecutions for simple possession, distribution and cultivation of relatively small amounts of marijuana are certainly diminished, both the federal and state governments are still aggressively pursuing larger players in the recreational and medical marijuana marketplaces. Such persons are often the target of covert surveillance and investigation of which they may never be aware. Federal authorities suspect many larger players in the system are diverting otherwise lawfully produced marijuana and marijuana products to more lucrative and illegal out-of-state markets. So while everyone can feel relatively at ease strolling into a licensed dispensary and lawfully purchasing personal use amounts, or growing a little of their own at home, anyone contemplating getting involved in possessing, growing or distributing marijuana or marijuana products should first consult a competent attorney.

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