As Oregon residents prepare to enter the new world of legal marijuana, the state wants folks to know a few things.
With the slogan, “Educate Before You Recreate,” The Oregon Liquor Control Commission has launched a public education campaign to put across the message that although it will be legal for anyone over the age of 21 to possess and use marijuana starting July 1, it is not yet legal for anyone but medical marijuana patients to buy it – including bringing it back from across the border in Washington state, where recreational marijuana is already legal.
The $350,000 campaign includes paid ads, an official website www.whatslegaloregon.com with a PowerPoint presentation, and posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Under Measure 91, starting July 1, anyone over 21 in Oregon can possess up to 8 ounces of usable marijuana, such as dried buds at home and up to one ounce outside the home. You can consume marijuana 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 marijuana in public or to drive while stoned. 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.
WHEN CAN I BUY IT LEGALLY?
There is no hard date. The OLCC does not expect to have the chain of retail recreational marijuana growers, processors, wholesalers and sales outlets permitted and operating until late in 2016. There has been talk in the Legislature about jumpstarting that by allowing recreational marijuana sales through medical marijuana dispensaries as early as October, but that remains up in the air.
WHAT ARE PEOPLE SUPPOSED TO DO?
There is no good answer to that question. You could receive marijuana as a gift. OLCC spokesman Tom Towslee said the agency has no advice on that score, “But one of the things we learned during listening sessions around the state is that Oregonians are resourceful, and where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
WHAT WILL THE POLICE DO?
John Bishop, executive director of the Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association, says anyone buying or selling marijuana without a license is still subject to arrest. But he adds that authorities will continue to focus on large amounts of marijuana.
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