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Oregon’s new marijuana laws

With the recent passing of Measure 91, Oregonians should get the facts about legalized marijuana in the state and the laws that will govern it.

Portland sits only across the river from Vancouver, Washington yet Portland residents have been banned from using marijuana recreationally while their neighbors in Washington have been able to legally use the substance. That is about to change as voters in the state recently passed Measure 91 which legalizes the recreational use of cannabis for people aged 21 or over.

It is important for people in the area to be fully aware of what the new laws will entail so that they can avoid being surprised by potential problems that could lead them to be in need of a criminal defense.

What are current laws?

According to OregonLive.com, the new law does not take effect until July 1, 2015. Until then, the existing laws will continue to govern recreational marijuana in the state. Anyone found possessing up to one ounce of the drug will be subject to a non-criminal violation. Persons with between one and four ounces can be charged with a misdemeanor and those people found guilty of having more than five ounces of marijuana could be at risk for a felony drug crime conviction.

What are the basics of the new law?

The Huffington Post and OregonLive.com outline the basics of what is known thus far regarding the legalization of marijuana. These include the following:

  • A person will be allowed to possess up to eight ounces of solid marijuana at home and up to one ounce in public.
  • A person will be able to possess up to 72 ounces of any liquid beverage infused with marijuana.
  • A person will be allowed to possess up to one ounce of marijuana extract which is generally consumed using a vaporizer.
  • Each household will be allowed to grow up to four marijuana plants.
  • Marijuana in Oregon cannot be taken or shipped out of state, even just across the river to Washington where recreational marijuana is also legal.

The local NBC affiliate, KGW.com suggests that the street price for legal marijuana will be far greater than the black market price. Estimates put the cost of legal pot at roughly $330 per ounce. That compares with roughly $177 per ounce on the black market.

When can I buy marijuana?

Even though possession of the drug will be legal as of July 1, 2015, retail sales cannot begin until into 2016. That is because the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, which will oversee the industry, has until the beginning of that year to finalize the laws for producing, processing and selling marijuana. The OLCC can only issue retail business licenses once that has been completed.

Caution is urged

There will be many nuances that people should remain aware of. For example, pot cannot be consumed in public places but only at home. Whether or not a front yard is considered public or private is as of yet unclear. For this reason, people who face potential issues regarding marijuana should contact an attorney for help.

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