At the stroke of midnight on July 1, recreational marijuana became legal in the state of Oregon. Thanks to Measure 91, passed by voters last November, the Beaver State now joins Washington, Colorado, Alaska and the District of Columbia as the only U.S. jurisdictions where cannabis users can toke up freely.
Here are your top questions about this new development, answered.
Dude! So, like, how legal is legal?
Oregon has, arguably, the least restrictive regime in the county. At home, Oregonians can keep up to eight ounces — that's half a pound! — of pot. It's also now legal to grow up to four mature plants per residence. But be careful: Out on the streets, the legal limit in your pocket is only one ounce.
Does the law apply to out-of-staters?
Yes. Anyone 21 years and older can now get high.
Can I smoke in public?
Smoking in public is still verboten. You can't toke up in the street, parks, bars or even the common areas of your apartment building. Public consumption is a class B misdemeanor, like a parking ticket, but punishable by up to a $1,000 fine.
OK, PDX here I come. Where can I score some kind bud?
Here's the catch-22. Although marijuana is now legal to possess and consume, you can't buy it anywhere yet. Under Measure 91, the state's liquor board is tasked with establishing retail stores for recreational pot, but that won't happen, under the statute, until sometime in 2016. State legislators — eager to prevent a black-market boom — are now trying to accelerate that timetable to October. Under one proposal, the existing medical marijuana dispensary system would open to the general public. But for now, the only legal way to obtain pot is to beg some off a buddy, or get gifted a seed and start growing your own.
Wait. Weed is legal in Washington state, too, right? Can I buy some there, cross the river and smoke it in Oregon?
Nope. No. Nuh uh. Although marijuana is now legal under state law, in neighboring states federal law still prohibits trafficking weed across state lines. Until legal weed, like same-sex marriage, becomes the law of the land, keep all pot activity in-state, or risk a run in with the Feds.
This is going to end up in a Portlandia episode, isn't it?
Totally. But why wait: enjoy the 15 Best Portlandia Sketches now — they're even better when baked.