Oregon Cannabis Laws

Is Cannabis Legal In Oregon?
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StateRecreationalMedical MarijuanaCBD

Federal Law:

Recreational Medical MarijuanaCBD

Is recreational cannabis legal in Oregon?

Yes. Oregon has always been at the forefront of recreational legalization, first decriminalizing cannabis in 1973, abolishing criminal penalties for small amounts of possession. 

After many attempts of failed legalization throughout the years, cannabis became legal  in Oregon with the voter-approved Measure 91 in 2014, allowing adults to possess:

  • 1 oz cannabis in public
  • 8 oz in private
  • 4 plants per person
  • 16 oz of solid concentrates
  • 72 oz of liquid concentrates

When retail sales began in 2015, medical dispensaries were selling recreational products to keep up with demand. This changed in 2017 when the state’s regulatory system became operational. Now recreational products can only be purchased in state-licensed dispensaries. 

Oregon continues to pave the way for progressive cannabis laws, introducing the Oregon Cannabis Equity Act. If passed, this new bill hopes to alleviate the harm caused by the war on drugs in marginalized communities. 

Is Medical Marijuana legal in Oregon?

Yes. The Oregon Medical Marijuana Program was a ballot initiative legalized in 1998, allowing the cultivation, possession, and use of marijuana by prescription for patients with qualifying conditions. Since the passing of the law, amendments have been made clarifying the help and requirements approved within the program. Some of the conditions include cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy, PTSD, and many other severe and terminal illnesses. 

As of 2020, registered medical marijuana patients may possess up to 24 oz of usable cannabis product at a time, 6 mature plants, and 12 immature plants. 

Are CBD products legal in Oregon? 

Yes. Since the passage of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, hemp-derived CBD products are legal under federal law in the United States, as long as they contain at most 0.3% THC. 

Any and all CBD in food and drink is still federally illegal.

What’s Oregon’s Medical Marijuana and Recreational sales tax? 

0%. Oregon does not have a sales tax rate.

But there is an excise tax on recreational sales of 3%. 

Is cannabis delivery legal in Oregon?

Yes. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission granted delivery permits to retailers across the state starting in 2017. Through this amendment, recreational retailers can only deliver within the city they’re licensed in and can’t deliver to public places, only residential homes.

As of 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Oregon has allowed an interim rule for curbside pick-up at dispensaries. 

Delivery services are still subject to local limits based on time, place, and delivery (operating hours and delivery locations). 

Oregon’s Cannabis Timeline:

1937: The Marihuana (archaic spelling of Marijuana) Tax Act was enacted banning cannabis at the federal level. Medical Marijuana use was still permitted.

1951: The Boggs Act, Sponsored by Hale Boggs and signed into law under President Harry S. Truman, This act set mandatory sentencing and increased punishment for cannabis possession. 

1969: The Marihuana Tax Act is deemed unconstitutional in the landmark Leary v. United States. Timothy Leary, a professor, and activist, was arrested for the possession of marijuana in violation of the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act. Leary then challenged the act because the act required self-incrimination, which violated his Fifth Amendment rights. (The self-incrimination clause provides various protections against self-incrimination, including the right of an individual to not serve as a witness in a criminal case in which they are the defendant, better known as “Pleading the Fifth.” The court’s unanimous opinion of the court was penned by Justice John Marshall Harlan II and declared the Marihuana Tax Act unconstitutional. Therefore, Leary’s conviction was overturned.

1970: The Controlled Substances Act is enacted (replacing the unconstitutional Marihuana Tax Act). Cannabis is classified as a Schedule I drug, determined to have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use, thereby prohibiting its use for any purpose. This act was signed into law by President Richard Nixon. 

This legislation created five classifications, with specific qualifications for a substance to be included in each. The substances scheduling (classification) are determined by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Yet, Congress does have the power to schedule or de-schedule substances through legislation. Substance scheduling decisions are based on its potential for abuse, accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and international treaties.

Classification of Controlled Substances:

Schedule I: High potential of abuse, not acceptable for medical use

Schedule II: High potential of abuse, sometimes allowed with “severe restrictions” for medical use

Schedule II: Medium potential of abuse, acceptable for medical use

Schedule IV: Moderate potential of abuse, acceptable for medical use

Schedule V: Lowest potential of abuse, acceptable for medical use

1973: Oregon decriminalizes cannabis with, The Oregon Decriminalization Bill.

1984-1986: Mandatory Sentencing and the three-strikes law were created under the Reagan Administration. This accounts for some of the harshest drug laws designed including mandatory 25-year imprisonment for certain drug offenses and the promotion of the death penalty to be used against “drug kingpins.”,

1998: House Joint Resolution 117, encouraged by the passing of California’s Prop 215, the House of Representatives passed this measure to support the existing Federal legal process for determining the safety and efficacy of certain drugs.  

1998: The Oregon Medical Marijuana Program legalizes patients’ use of medicinal marijuana products. 

2014: The Rohrabacher–Farr Amendment passed in the U.S. House and signed into law prohibiting the Justice Department from interfering with the implementation of state medical cannabis laws.

2014: Oregon voters legalized cannabis in 2014 with Measure 91.

2015: Oregon’s recreational cannabis market is open. 

2017: Oregon’s recreational adult-use cannabis products can only be sold in state-licensed dispensaries. 

2017: The Oregon Liquor Control Commission granted delivery permits to retailers across the state.

2018: Farm bill legalizes low-THC hemp nationwide and effectively de-schedules hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) from the Controlled Substances Act. 

2020: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Oregon has allowed an interim rule for curbside pick up at dispensaries.

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