Whether you live in Oregon or you’re just visiting, here are the things you should know about the state’s marijuana laws.
Photo by Ben McCanna/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images
For a long time now, Oregon has been a very weed-friendly state. In fact, it became the very first state to decriminalize marijuana, way back in 1973. Oregonians legalized medical cannabis at the ballot box in 1998, and recreational weed by the same method in 2014.
While marijuana can’t be legally sold or smoked in public, adults are allowed to buy it at licensed retail locations. Ever since July 1, 2015, state residents have also been allowed to grow up to four plants on their property (though not in public view), and to possess up to 10 cannabis seeds. The limit remains at four plants per residence, regardless of the number of adults living there. Four adults doesn’t mean 16 plants.
Adults can also possess up to eight ounces of usable marijuana flowers in their homes and up to one ounce on their person. Up to 16 ounces of solid cannabis-infused edibles are allowed and up to 72 ounces of infused liquids are legal. Cannabinoid extracts or concentrates are limited to five grams.
A notable part of Oregon’s marijuana culture is the abundance of beautiful handmade glass pipes, bongs, dab rigs and various other smoking devices. This is driven by a healthy community of glass artists who consistently produce some of the best pieces in the world.
To this day, Eugene, Oregon is known as a glass-blowing mecca. High-quality glass art from Eugene commands premium prices across countries.
Unfortunately, vapor lounges or weed-friendly “coffee shops” are no longer a legal feature of the Oregon scene, though they became well-known during the state’s medical-only years, from 1998 to 2015. There are, however, still speakeasies that allow onsite cannabis consumption. You normally won’t find public listings for these places, however, as they are operating in one of those legal “gray areas” so beloved by countercultures everywhere.
Recreational cannabis stores in Oregon aren’t limited to dried marijuana flowers.
They also stock concentrates (very potent essential oils of the plant); edibles; topicals (i.e., infused cremes, lotions, massage oils); seeds (coming in many strains of both indica and sativa varieties); and cannabis plants (healthy clones or seedlings ready to be grown).
Cannabis flower prices in Oregon are some of the cheapest in the country ranging between $10 (more usual) and $25 a gram (which is considered quite expensive). A high-quality ounce in the state runs around $210.00.
Please remember that driving a motor vehicle while high is still illegal in Oregon—and just about everywhere else.
Doing so can have consequences including an expensive ticket and possible suspension of your driver’s license. You can get a DUI charge even if you aren’t stoned because THC can stay in your system for 30 days, and sometimes even longer.
Other ways to avoid pot-related troubles in Oregon include:
• Not exceeding possession limits
• Not buying or possessing cannabis if you’re under 21
• Not taking weed across the state line
• Not distributing or selling marijuana without a license
• Not possessing cannabis while incarcerated
Seventy-five cities and 16 counties, predominantly those with smaller populations and in the more conservative eastern parts of the state, have chosen to do so. The Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission (OLCC) maintains a a list of state localities where cannabis sales are prohibited.
Oregon’s more populated western coast has always been much more liberal than the predominantly rural middle and eastern parts of the state. That’s why it’s possible to be in (eastern) Oregon and still be hundreds of miles from the nearest legal pot shop.