Recreational and medical marijuana are legal in Oregon, thanks to two voter-approved measures: the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act in 1998, and the Control, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana and Industrial Hemp Act in 2014.
Like other states, Oregon is experiencing some growing pains in regulating the marketplace, from curbing illegal marijuana sales to keeping cannabis accessible to those who need it.
New rules that went into effect Dec. 28, 2018, strive to address those issues. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) tightened its rules and also created a denial basis for licensees who don’t complete their renewals and applicants with “unauthorized interest in a licensed business.” The state also made cannabis more accessible to patients by expanding the quantity of medical marijuana that can be purchased from one ounce (1 oz., or 28.35 grams) to eight ounces (8 oz., or 226.8 grams) per purchase, and up to 32 ounces, or 907.2 grams, per month. It also allows licensed retailers to deliver cannabis to patients and primary caregivers in areas that outlaw retailers or other marijuana transactions, making it more convenient for patients who cannot access to cannabis.
The commission is also allowing temporary cultivation and processing of hemp by certified growers and businesses while permanent rules are being crafted. Industrial hemp certificates are set to expire in January 2019. Permanent rules are expected to be in place by late February 2019.
The OLCC controls all licensing and regulation of adult-use marijuana, while the Oregon Health Authority oversees all licensing and regulatory oversight of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP).
to Be to Consume?
For recreational use, consumers ages 21 and older are allowed to buy one ounce (1 oz., or 28.35 grams), of cannabis flower per day, with a 17% excise tax charged on cannabis and cannabis-infused products, plus up to three percent (3%) in local taxes. Cannabis may only be purchased at an OLCC-licensed retailer.
Medical marijuana patients and their caregivers can buy cannabis from an OLCC-sanctioned retailer and an OMMP-approved dispensary as long as they have photo identification and a valid OMMP card. A new OLCC rule enacted Dec. 28, 2018, now allows patients and caregivers to buy up to eight ounces (8 oz., or 226.8 grams) per purchase and up to 32 ounces per month. The new rule also allows authorized retailers to deliver cannabis to patients and caregivers throughout the state, even to places in Oregon where marijuana sales are not allowed.
Both patients and recreational consumers may grow marijuana for personal use at home or on private property. Synthetic marijuana is illegal.
Adults ages 21 and older and patients can legally consume cannabis on private property. They are not allowed to consume recreational marijuana in a public place, including establishments such as bars and restaurants licensed to serve liquor. It’s also illegal to consume cannabis in a parked car in public view, while driving, or riding as a passenger.
If it’s not a liquor-licensed location, check with local agencies to see if it’s deemed a public space. Oregon defines public places as spaces that can be accessed by the general public, such as “common areas in apartments and hotels; highways and streets; schools; parks and playgrounds; premises used for public passenger transportation (such as bus stops); and amusement parks. If it’s not, consuming recreational marijuana is subject to Oregon’s Clean Air Act and approval of the venue.
On private property or in possession while in public, recreational users may possess up to:
- one ounce (1 oz., or 28.35 grams) of cannabis leaves and flower;
- one ounce (1 oz., or 28.35 grams) of cannabinoid extracts or concentrates from an authorized retailer;
- 16 ounces, or 453.6 grams, of a cannabinoid product in solid form;
- 72 fluid ounces, or 2.13 liters, of a cannabinoid product in liquid form;
- 10 marijuana seeds, and;
- four (4) immature marijuana plants.
Gifting to adults ages 21 and older is allowed up to the following limits:
- one ounce, or 28.35 grams, of dried cannabis;
- 16 ounces, or 453.6 grams, of cannabis-infused products in solid form;
- 72 fluid ounces, or 2.13 liters, of cannabis-infused products in liquid form, and;
- five (5) grams of cannabis concentrates.
Gifting is illegal if it exceeds possession limits and if a financial transaction — such as a raffle, cover charge, or donation — is conducted. The state considers these actions as a marijuana sale.
Federal law makes it illegal to bring cannabis purchased in another state to Oregon, or to travel with cannabis purchased in Oregon to another state, including the neighboring adult-use states of California, Nevada, and Washington.
If driving within the state of Oregon, legal possession limits apply. It’s illegal to consume cannabis in a car, whether the user is a driver or passenger.
If flying within the state of Oregon, passengers flying out of Portland International Airport (PDX) are allowed to possess up to one ounce (1 oz., or 28.35 grams) of marijuana. Smoking it on an aircraft, however, is illegal. Lastly, using or having cannabis on federal property is illegal.
Patients and their caregivers may possess up to:
- 24 ounces, or 680.4 grams, of usable cannabis;
- 16 ounces, or 453.6 grams, of cannabis-infused products in solid form;
- 72 fluid ounces of cannabis-infused products in liquid form;
- five (5) grams of cannabis extracts and concentrates;
- 50 marijuana seeds, and
- Four (4) immature marijuana plants.
Adults ages 21 and older may grow up to four (4) marijuana plants at home or private property and out of public view. Renters must check with their landlords, who retain the right to limit cannabis use and growth on their properties.
Patients growing medical marijuana or assigning a grower must provide the OMMP with the grow site address, which must be a physical location in Oregon. One registered grow site address is allowed per patient.
Patients or assigned growers cultivating a medical grow site may cultivate up to the following per patient:
- six (6) mature plants;
- 12 immature plants that are taller than 24 inches, or 61 centimeters, and;
- 36 immature plants that are shorter than 24 inches, or 61 centimeters.
Plant limits will depend on where the grow site is zoned. A grow site within city limits and zoned as residential can have up to 12 mature plants, 24 immature plants that’s 24 inches or taller and 72 immature plants less than 24 inches tall.
If the grow site is grandfathered in (meaning the site was registered before 2015) and is zoned as residential and is within city limits, it can have 24 mature plants, 48 immature plants at least 24 inches tall and 144 immature plants less than 24 inches tall.
If the grow site is outside city limits or not zoned residential within city limits, then the grow site can have 48 mature plants, 96 immature plants at least 24 inches tall and 288 immature plants less than 24 inches tall.
A household falling under these criteria can have four personal plants, plus medical cannabis plants.
Medical Marijuana Registry
The Oregon Health Authority oversees all licensing and regulatory oversight of the OMMP.
- A degenerative or pervasive neurological condition
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- A medical condition or treatment for a medical condition that results one or more of the following:
- Cachexia, or wasting syndrome
- Persistent muscle spasms, including those associated with multiple sclerosis
- Seizures, including those caused by epilepsy
- Severe pain
- Severe nausea
Patients must have a qualifying condition and a doctor’s recommendation to obtain a medical marijuana card. The physician must be a Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathy licensed under state statute chapter 677 and has the primary responsibility treat a patient with a debilitating medical condition.
- Submit a completed application.
- Include a complete physician statement.
- Furnish a valid state or federal ID for the patient.
- Assign a primary caregiver and grower, if applicable.
- Pay $200 application and card fee, plus a $200 optional grow site registration fee.
A patient may designate a caregiver if he or she is needed to obtain, use, or grow cannabis. Patients younger than 18 must assign a caregiver. Caregivers must be at least 21 years old and be an Oregon resident with a valid state or federal identification.
Patients may designate a caregiver on their medical card application.
In 2015, the OHA assembled a work group to develop guidelines for doctors seeking to recommend medical marijuana to patients, including a complete patient evaluation detailing information such as past and present treatment and any issues with substance abuse, as well as a physical examination and comprehensive treatment plan with includes informed consent in writing. The workgroup also suggests doctors should complete at least three hours of continuing medical education associated with medical cannabis.
To buy medical marijuana from a dispensary, patients need a valid OMMP card.
Harvested medical and recreational cannabis, including marijuana-infused products, are subjected to testing to ensure quality and safety control standards.
Testing is required for cannabinoids, heavy metals, microbiological contaminants, moisture, water content, pesticides, and residual solvents
Licensing for Growers, Manufacturers, Processors, Retailers etc.
Check if the desired location is under the OLCC Opt-Out List, which allows cities to ban producers and sellers within their borders. Generally, the application must include the company’s name, physical and mailing address, Secretary of State business number; list of funding sources; a Land Use Compatibility Statement issued by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission; a Business Operating plan; proof that the business is allowed to occupy the premises, and a $250 non-refundable application fee.
Cannabis retailers cannot be located within 1,000 feet of a school unless specific exemptions are met. Local agencies may adopt “reasonable regulations” for where a cannabis retailer can be located. For example, a city could adopt rules that would limit how far cannabis retailers can be from each other and where or when they can operate.
This page was last updated on January 28, 2019.