Oregon votes to legalize recreational marijuana

Earlier this month, Oregonians voted by a margin of 55% to 44% to legalize recreational marijuana. The law will take effect on July 1, 2015, and it will, among other things, allow individuals 21 years or over to possess up to eight ounces of marijuana and grow up to four plants in their homes. Those individuals can also possess up to one pound of solid edibles, 72 ounces of marijuana-infused liquids (a six-pack of 12-ounce sodas), and one ounce of marijuana extract.

In public spaces however, an individual may possess no more than one ounce. Other limitations and prohibitions are detailed in the text of Measure 91, and a good summary can be found over at the Marijuana Policy Project’s website.

It is important to note that the Oregon Legislature is currently in session, and this could mean that some minor or major changes could be coming to the new law. Additionally, the OLCC will be responsible for implementing additional regulations and will have primary oversight of marijuana dispensaries. The OLCC will not begin accepting applications for retail marijuana dispensaries until January 4, 2016.

Measure 91 also creates a tax on recreational marijuana. As the law is currently written, flowers are taxed at $35 per ounce, leaves at $10 per ounce, and immature plants at $5 per plant. Additionally, tax revenues will be distributed as follows:

  • 40% to Common School Fund
  • 20% to Mental Health Alcoholism and Drug Services
  • 15% to State Police
  • 10% to Cities for enforcement of the measure
  • 10% to Counties for enforcement of the measure
  • 5% to Oregon Health Authority For Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention

Finally, the passage of Measure 91 does nothing to change Oregon’s current Medical Marijuana Program. Dispensaries are still being licensed and allowed to operate under the current rules for the OMMP.