Is Weed Legal in Oregon? | Cannabis Legalization

Is recreational cannabis legal in Oregon? Is medicinal marijuana legal in Oregon? What about Oregon's CBD laws? Find out about the weed laws in Oregon in this article.

In 1985, the educational video game The Oregon Trail hit the market. Within it, players attempt to follow the path of a 19th century pioneer in their travels from Missouri to Oregon's Willamette Valley. In the U.S, the game was found on most school computer systems, and it became a cultural icon for Gen Xers and Millennials alike. Even now, there are plenty of online references to the game and in particular it's abrupt declarations of death by dysentery.

The game's graphics, however, could hardly showcase the stunning geography of modern day Oregon. Approximately 60% of Oregon is forest, but the state is incredibly diverse. There are national parks which are home to great lakes and volcanoes, and there are also areas of high desert and semi-arid shrublands. The Malheur National Forest in eastern Oregon is home to the largest single organism in the world – an Armillaria solidipes fungus – which covers 3.7 square miles, or 9.6 square kilometres.

Portland is the most populated city in the state, and is just north of Oregon's capital Salem in the Willamette Valley. Portland was founded by the pioneers from The Oregon Trail as a convenient port to transport timber. These days, it has a strong and vibrant reputation for its progressive political values and is a beacon of counterculture in the U.S. Portland and its surrounds are also home to over 160 breweries and microbreweries in what is colloquially known as 'Beervana'. Both the U.S. World News Report and CNN have previously noted Portland as the best city for food and drink in the world. The city hosts up to five beer and wine festivals each year, including the Oregon Brewers Festival – one of the largest beer festivals in the U.S.

Is recreational weed legal in Oregon?

In keeping with Portland's reputation for being forward-thinking, Oregon was the first U.S state to decriminalize possession of small amounts of cannabis back in 1973. By 1986, the Measure 5 Ballot was put to the state in an effort to legalize cannabis, but it failed –only a quarter of the state's populace were in favour. Then, there was an attempt to recriminalize possession of cannabis in 1997, which was again turned down by voters, and another attempt at legalization in 2012 which was also kicked back.

It wasn't until 2014 that Measure 91 was approved and Oregon was set to legalize non-medical cultivation and use of marijuana from July 2015. Since then, it has been legal for an adult over the age of 21 to possess 1 ounce of cannabis flower in public, and up to 8 ounces within a private residence. In addition to usable dried material, an adult can possess 1 ounce of concentrate or extract purchased from a dispensary – homemade concentrates are illegal – 16 ounces of solid cannabis edibles and up to 72 ounces of liquid cannabis product. For cultivation purposes, an adult may possess up to 10 seeds and 4 immature cannabis plants.

Interestingly, it is legal in Oregon for an adult to gift marijuana products to another adult, so long as they do not exceed the legal possession limits, and the giver does not accept any form of financial compensation including tips, services or donations.

Like most states, it is illegal to light up in public in Oregon, and landlords have the right to prohibit usage on rental properties. It is also illegal to drive a vehicle under the influence of cannabis. Even though various states in the U.S have legalized cannabis possession and use, it is illegal to transport cannabis products in or out of the state of Oregon, even to a state with similar laws.

Recreational marijuana can now be legally purchased from any of the plentiful dispensaries within the state. Taxation revenue gained through cannabis sales is channelled by the state government into three streams: drug and alcohol education and treatment programs, public safety investments to protect the community from unsafe drivers, and support for small businesses.

Is medicinal marijuana legal in Oregon?

Oregon was one of the first states to authorize medicinal marijuana use in November 1998. In order to purchase medicinal marijuana, a physician must authorise an identification card. Many registered patients in the state of Oregon suffer from severe pain, and a large quotient suffer from nausea. 

Patients who suffer from epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, cancer, glaucoma and Alzheimer's disease tremors are able to discuss medicinal marijuana with their physician. Like Maine, Oregon also includes cachexia within the ailments which cannabis can assist. Cachexia is a wasting of muscle mass stemming from other illnesses, such as HIV/AIDS. Studies have shown promise in cannabis assisting cachexia by increasing appetite and decreasing feelings of nausea.

Patients in Oregon are able to possess up to 1.5 pounds of marijuana and can grow up to 18 immature cannabis plants and 6 mature plants at any given time. Oregon also allows patients to designate a primary caregiver and grower, if they are unable to purchase or grow medicinal marijuana themselves. These designated carers have the same possession rights as the patient, and can grow cannabis for up to four patients at any time.

In 2004, a ballot was put forward to increase the possession limits for medicinal marijuana patients to 6 pounds, but this was defeated by Oregon voters.

Is CBD legal in Oregon?

CBD, or cannabidiol, products were deemed legal at a federal level in the United States in 2018. The caveat is these products must contain no more than 0.3% THC. Since THC is the psychoactive part of marijuana, this percentage restriction allows CBD users to access the plentiful health benefits without worrying about 'getting high'.

CBD has influenced the health and wellness industries as more and more research shows its effectiveness in assisting with seizures, chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety and anorexia.

CBD has a number of topical uses in creams and oils, and has been making a splash in the professional sports industry. Creams can be applied directly to the skin to assist in reducing inflammation, and ingesting CBD oil in food or beverages can assist with increasing sleep quality, which gives the body time to properly repair itself.As more research is carried out in the world of CBD, we're looking forward to an exciting new world filled with CBD beers and cafes serving CBD lattes and brownies.

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Laura Desmond
Laura Desmond

Laura Desmond is an Adelaide-based writer with a keen interest in the arts, gender politics and social change. She is currently working to obtain a Master in Writing through Swinburne University.

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