Oregon Marijuana Laws

  1. Oregon Cannabis
  2. Oregon Marijuana Laws

Key Points

  • Possession of medical and recreational marijuana is legal in Oregon.

  • Residents who are 21 years and above can buy legal amounts of weed in Oregon without prescription. Underaged persons qualified to use medical cannabis in Oregon can only do so through designated caregivers.

  • Eligible adults can only possess up to two ounces of recreational marijuana while registered patients can buy up to 24 ounces of medical cannabis.

  • Residents can cultivate up to four marijuana plants while registered patients can grow up to six mature cannabis plants.

  • Simple non-violent marijuana offenses in Oregon often attract civil fines while major charges like marijuana trafficking may result in long jail sentences or asset forfeiture.

Is Marijuana Legal in Oregon?

Yes, marijuana is legal in Oregon. The Oregon Medical Marijuana Act legalized the use of marijuana to treat certain debilitating medical conditions in 1998. Marijuana became legal for recreational use for anyone aged 21 and above in 2014, according to the Control, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana and Industrial Hemp Act. Due to laws signed by the Governor in December 2021, the new Oregon Cannabis Regulation now allows adults above 21 to possess up to two ounces of marijuana flower in public and one ounce of cannabinoid extract. Patients and caregivers can still purchase up to 24 ounces of flower and 5 grams of extracts.

In Oregon, possession laws are different for marijuana use at home and outside of private properties. If you are of legal age and are in a private residence or property, Oregon marijuana laws allow you to possess up to 8 ounces of usable cannabis. Note that you cannot use marijuana in places such as rental homes, sidewalks, schools, parks, and federal lands and properties in Oregon.

Oregon Marijuana Laws in 2022

Following the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes in 1998, Oregon voters repealed the state's marijuana ban on November 4, 2014, by deciding to allow adult-use and possession of marijuana for individuals over the age of 21. The Control, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana and Industrial Hemp Act that followed eliminated penalties for people 21 and older who had marijuana and grew a limited amount of the plant. It also directs the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission (OLCC) to establish a system of strictly regulated and registered marijuana producers, wholesalers, processors, and retailers. New changes to the state’s marijuana laws in 2021 led to the possession limit increase for recreational users and switch from Oregon Liquor Control Commission to Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission. Other bills that were passed in 2021 but became effective in 2022 are listed below:

HB300

HB300 is linked to the regulation of impairing artificially derived cannabinoids and it:

  • Allows the OLCC to regulate artificially-derived cannabinoids.

  • Allows a licensed OLCC processor to process hemp with less than 0.3 percent THC and sell the goods in general commerce.

  • Instructs the OLCC to develop regulations defining the maximum concentration of total delta-9 THC and other cannabinoids, including artificially derived cannabinoids, in a single serving of cannabis product

  • Allows marijuana processors to transfer, sell, or transport hemp commodities or products to parties other than marijuana processors, retailers, or wholesalers provided the commodity or product satisfies certain criteria

  • Establishes Task Force on Cannabis-Derived Intoxicants.

After the passage of HB300, the OLCC published new administrative rules which are effective from July 2022. According to the new rules, selling artificially derived cannabinoids products that do not comply with OAR 845-025-1310 is illegal from July 2022. An OLCC-approved label must be present in all legal products containing an artificially derived cannabinoid.

HB 2284A

HB2284A proposes the establishment of a state commission to tax and market hemp operators in a similar way to the Oregon Wheat Commission or the Oregon Beef Council.

SB 408

SB408 proposes reforms that would assist establish industry expectations for license application processing and will eliminate confusing standards and procedures when licensees are charged with breaches. The legislation:

  • Specifies the reasons why the OLCC may postpone processing, approval, or denial of a marijuana licensing application.

  • When revoking, suspending, or limiting a license, the OLCC must consider mitigating circumstances.

  • Requires the OLCC to develop by rule a schedule of the numbers and kinds of breaches that reflect an applicant's or licensee's disrespect for the law.

  • Requires the OLCC to report on regulations relating to the creation of a violations schedule and public safety by December 31, 2021 and December 31, 2022, respectively

  • Allows the OLCC to revoke, suspend, or limit a marijuana license for a variety of reasons, including marijuana diversion to the interstate or illegal market and the entry of cannabinoids or marijuana not manufactured by an OLCC licensee or monitored METRC.

  • Allows the OLCC to revoke a marijuana retailer license for a variety of reasons.

  • Allows marijuana producers who are generally owned to transmit marijuana and usable marijuana to one another, and defines "commonly owned."

  • Allows marijuana producers to obtain some marijuana products from marijuana processors.

  • Specifies the information that must be included in a marijuana transfer manifest.

  • Requires the OLCC to establish regulations allowing marijuana producers to acquire a certain quantity of marijuana seeds from any Oregon source.

  • Increases the personal possession limit in a public venue to two (2) ounces of marijuana.

  • Directs OLCC to establish regulations governing the amount of THC in a single serving of a cannabis product, cannabinoid concentrate, or extract.

HB 2519

HB2519 allows delivery of marijuana items by retailers to consumers in adjacent cities or counties, provided those jurisdictions have adopted rules allowing for such delivery.

SB808

SB808 gives the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission specialists the "peace officer" distinction, concurrent with OLCC's expanded jurisdiction over artificial cannabinoids and hemp. The goal is to equip inspectors for encounters down in the turbulent regions of Jackson and Josephine Counties for a start, where the sheriffs have loads of outstanding warrants for unlicensed cannabis activities, and where fear of cartel-type cannabis activities is growing.

HB3295

HB3295 is targeted at Deschutes County. It requires counties, with a few exceptions, to convene cannabis advisory panels before they adopt specified ordinance related to marijuana, in order to be eligible for Oregon Marijuana Account money. It also tweaks county eligibility requirements for money from the Oregon Marijuana Account.

HB 3369

HB3369 allows nurses to discuss medical marijuana use with patients. It specifies licensed health care providers who may recommend the medical use of marijuana to registry identification cardholders.

SB307

SB307 waives fees for specific veterans wishing to obtain medical marijuana cards. Each qualified veteran is required to have a total disability rating of a minimum of 50% arising from injury or illness incurred or aggravated during active military service. Each veteran must also have received a discharge or release under other than dishonorable conditions.

HB 2111A

This bill, which was passed by a vote of 54-1, proposes renaming the Oregon Liquor Control Commission the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission. It does not request any modifications to the commission's powers.

SB96

SB96 authorizes OLCC to regulate the testing and labeling of inhalant delivery systems that include hemp-derived vapor items.

Timeline of Cannabis Law in Oregon

  • 1923: Oregon legislators passed the first law to criminalize non-medical marijuana. Medical cannabis was eventually banned in line with the Uniform State Narcotic Drug Act adopted by most US states in 1935.

  • 1973: The state governor approved the 1973 Oregon Decriminalization Bill, making Oregon the first US state to decriminalize marijuana possession. According to the new law, marijuana possession below one ounce became a violation not a crime. This means that offenders get a $500 or $1000 fine rather than serve jail terms.

  • 1986: The first attempt to legalize marijuana through a voter initiative, known as Ballot Measure 5, failed to gain approval from the majority of Oregon voters.

  • 1998: Medical marijuana became legal through the Oregon Ballot Measure 67 in 1998. The new law permitted only eligible patients to possess, cultivate, and use marijuana.

  • 2005: Lawmakers in Oregon increase the marijuana cultivation limit for qualified patients who possess Oregon medical marijuana cards. Rather than three cannabis plants, eligible patients may now cultivate six mature marijuana plants and 18 immature seedlings.

  • 2012: The first effort at legalizing recreational marijuana failed through the voter’s initiative known as Measure 80 or Oregon Cannabis Tax Act Initiative. More than 50% of Oregon voters rejected Measure 80, which would have allowed small possession and cultivation for residents who are 21 years and older.

  • 2014: Recreational marijuana became legal thanks to the approval of Measure 91 in 2014. The approved ballot measure, which was initially scheduled to be in effect on July 1, 2015, will regulate non-medical possession and cultivation of marijuana in Oregon. Marijuana sales began in 2015 after the Governor signed an emergency order declaring cannabis sales from licensed dispensaries legal to recreational users .

Federal Legalization of Weed in 2022

US lawmakers have passed different bills in 2022 to legalize marijuana, which is already legal in several states. Although adult-use marijuana is now legal in Oregon and 18 US states, it is still prohibited at the federal level. In 2018, the US Farm Bill legalized use and cultivation of low-THC cannabis, also known as hemp. A year later, the US House of Representatives presented the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act in a bid to legalize recreational and medical marijuana. The 2019 MORE Act was passed by the House in 2020 but failed to gain approval from the Senate. In 2022, the House moved forward with another MORE Act, which seeks to:

  • Remove cannabis from the illicit drugs list in the 1970 Controlled Substances Act.

  • Eliminate cannabis-related federal offense penalties.

  • Expunge previous marijuana convictions.

  • Permit other states to develop their own regulatory frameworks free from federal interference.

  • Prevent non-citizens from suffering immigration consequences as a result of using and possessing marijuana.

  • Stop federal organizations from refusing qualified applicants access to school loans, government benefits, or jobs because they consume marijuana.

  • Support community social services that have been impacted by the protracted war on drugs through a federal excise tax of 5% on marijuana sales.

Meanwhile, the US Senate is also working on its own marijuana legislation bill known as the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA). Like the MORE Act, this bill will delist cannabis from the DEA’s Schedule 1 drugs and allow states to legalize marijuana without federal interference. The CAO Act will also resolve a number of issues that are currently plaguing legislated state cannabis markets. Examples of those issues include:

  • Lack of financial services accessibility.

  • Federal tax returns on marijuana establishments.

  • Absence of uniform federal administrative regulations and standards.

If enacted into law, the bill will promote inclusion and diversity among licensed business owners in supervised cannabis markets and designates cash to be reinvested in regions that have been unduly disadvantaged by the War on Drugs.

The US President has also helped increase the prospect of federal legalization by issuing a marijuana reform executive order in October 2022. The executive action will pardon persons convicted of simple marijuana possession and other states to carry out similar state pardons. President Biden also asked the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Attorney General to review how cannabis is scheduled under the Controlled Substances Act.

Can I Use Cannabis?

Yes, provided the conditions required by law in Oregon are met. Under the law, you must be aged 21 or older to use cannabis. However, the growth, sales, and consumption of the product remain federal offenses. Any adult over the age of 21 can possess up to one ounce of marijuana in public, including out-of-state visitors. In private, users may possess up to 8 ounces of cannabis flower.

Historically, despite the medical uses of cannabis, the attitudes of many Americans towards cannabis shifted at the turn of the last century. That was largely motivated by the Mexican Revolution in the United States in the early 1900s. Until Mexican immigrants brought it during that time period, the habit of smoking cannabis in pipes and cigarettes was virtually unknown in the United States. The introduction, in turn, generated a reaction among American citizens where cannabis was attributed to inciting murder and other violent crimes.

Although no evidence could be provided that marijuana indeed contributed to violent crimes, 29 states outlawed cannabis between 1916 and 1931. Despite concerns from the American Medicinal Association about medical use, the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 eventually fully outlawed the substance and its manufacturers countrywide. However, many states have now legalized cannabis for both medicinal and recreational purposes.

How the Legal Sale of Cannabis in Oregon Happens

Purchasing marijuana in Oregon is easy with both medical and recreational marijuana legal. Medical marijuana is sold by licensed state dispensaries only to patients diagnosed with medical conditions or diseases on the state's qualifying list. You will need to provide a medical marijuana card in order to purchase medical marijuana from licensed dispensaries. Medical dispensaries and recreational retailers of marijuana are also required to obtain retail licenses before selling marijuana in Oregon. Note that some cities and counties in Oregon prohibit establishment of medical or recreational marijuana dispensaries in line with ORS 475C.950. This explains why individuals may find it difficult to purchase cannabis legally in some communities.

The license to sell medical or recreational marijuana at retail is subject to regulation by the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission. A recreational marijuana retailer must have a retail license issued by the commission for the premises at which marijuana items are sold. The OLCC charges a $4,750 fee to obtain a recreational retail license. This fee is exclusive of a non-refundable $250 due during the initial application process and at renewals. To hold a recreational retail license, a marijuana licensee:

  • Must apply for a license as described under Section 457C.033 (2021) of the Oregon Revised Statutes.

  • Must provide proof that the applicant is aged 21 or older

  • May not be located in an area that is zoned exclusively for residential use

  • Except as provided in ORS 475C.101, may not be located within 1,000 feet of a public elementary or secondary school, private or parochial elementary or secondary school

Under Oregon marijuana laws, a medical marijuana retail licensee is permitted to:

  • Sell marijuana items only for medical purposes

  • Receive usable marijuana only from marijuana producers registered under ORS 475C.137, marijuana processors registered under ORS 475C.141, and marijuana wholesalers registered under ORS 475C.145.

  • Receive cannabinoid products, cannabinoid concentrates, and cannabinoid extracts only from a marijuana processor registered under ORS 475C.141 and marijuana wholesalers registered under ORS 475C.145.

  • Transfer usable marijuana, cannabinoid products, cannabinoid concentrates, and cannabinoid extracts only to registry identification cardholders and designated primary caregivers.

A medical marijuana license in Oregon costs $4,000. This fee comprises a non-refundable application fee of $500 and a $3,500 registration fee. The applicant must designate a Primary Persons Responsible for Dispensary (PRD). The PRD is the person designated by the owner of the dispensary as the primary point of contact for the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program. The dispensary must also be located 1,000 feet from a school or other dispensary.

Payment methods for cannabis differ from one dispensary to the other. Some accept cards, while others are cash only. Some others also have ATMs on site. Marijuana prices in Oregon are currently between $10 and $30 a gram depending on the form and quality. Recreational cannabis stores can sell marijuana concentrates, hash, edibles, transdermal patches, seeds, and clones. Clones are healthy seedlings that are ready to be grown.

A customer cannot purchase more than the following amounts at any one time or within one day:

  • 2 ounce of usable marijuana if a recreational consumer

  • 24 ounces of usable marijuana if a registered OMMP patient or designated primary caregiver

  • 16 ounces of a solid cannabinoid

  • 72 ounces of a liquid cannabinoid product

  • 5 grams of cannabis extracts or concentrates, available separately or as part of an inhalant delivery system

  • 4 immature marijuana plants

  • 10 marijuana seeds

Penalties for Marijuana-related Crimes in Oregon

Oregon prescribes strict penalties for persons using or purchasing above the accepted limits of marijuana in the state. The following are the penalties for marijuana-related crimes in Oregon:

Possession in Oregon

In public, possessing between 2 and 4 ounces is considered a misdemeanor offense punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 and 6 months imprisonment. Also, possession of more than 4 ounces is considered a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $6,250 and 1 year in jail.

Oregon marijuana possession laws prohibit carrying between 1 and 2 pounds of weed in private properties. Offenders will face misdemeanor offenses, which is punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 and 6 months in jail. Possession of more than 2 pounds of marijuana is considered a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $6,250 and 1 year in jail.

Possession with Intent to Distribute in Oregon

  • Delivery of between 1 ounce and 16 ounces of marijuana without compensation is a violation punishable by a fine of up to $2,000.

  • Delivery of 16 ounces or more of marijuana with compensation is considered a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $6,250 and 1 year in jail.

  • Delivery of marijuana to a minor is considered a felony punishable by 5 years in jail and a fine of up to $125,000

  • Delivery of marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school ground is considered a felony punishable by a fine of up to $375,000 and 20 years in jail.

Note that Oregon marijuana distribution laws consider processing or extracting marijuana as manufacturing. Manufacture of marijuana of any amount is considered a felony punishable by 5 years in jail and a fine of up to $125,000. Also, manufacture of marijuana within 1,000 feet of school grounds is considered a felony punishable by 20 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $375,000.

Cultivation in Oregon

  • Cultivation of more than 4 to 8 plants is considered a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 and 6 months in jail.

  • Cultivation of more than 8 plants homegrown or nay amount away from home (unlicensed) is considered a felony punishable by 5 years in jail and a fine of up to $125,000

  • Cultivation of marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school (except homegrown or licensed) is considered a felony punishable by 20 years in jail and a fine of up to $375,000.

Marijuana Consumption in Oregon

In Oregon, it is illegal to smoke or consume cannabis in public view or public places. Examples of public places where consumption in the premises is prohibited include bars, restaurants, clubs, parks, sport fields, and also stores that sell cannabis. Individuals who violate Oregon marijuana limitations will be charged with a class B felony offense which attracts a $1000 fine.

Marijuana Paraphernalia in Oregon

The sale, delivery, possession with intent to sell or deliver, or manufacture with intent to sell or deliver of marijuana paraphernalia is regarded a civil crime punishable by a fine of up to $10,000.

In Oregon, a conviction for possessing more than 1 ounce of marijuana, delivery, or cultivation will result in a 6-month suspension of driving privileges. Knowingly maintaining a structure used for drug crimes is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $6,250. Penalties for unlawfully possessing marijuana may also include civil asset forfeiture in Oregon.

Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana in Oregon

Driving under marijuana influence is a criminal offense regarded as Driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII) in Oregon. Although law enforcers do not have any specific THC limit for marijuana detection in the bloodstream, they can stop individuals who are visibly impaired while driving. A first-time marijuana DUII offense typically results in a class A misdemeanor charge which is subject to a $1000 fine and possible one prison term. Subsequent convictions carry severe punishments according to the Oregon DUII laws. For instance, an offender convicted of a third marijuana DUII offense may face up to 5 years prison sentence. Generally, any DUII conviction results in a minimum of one year driver's license suspension. Even after completing the one-year license suspension, convicted motorists in Oregon may be required to purchase ignition interlock devices (IIDs) for their cars.

Confiscation of Assets in Oregon

The state government has the right to seize or confiscate assets believed to be involved in violating Oregon marijuana trafficking laws. Items that are subject to confiscation of assets include cash, houses, cars, and jewelry.

Additional Limitations in Oregon

  • Possession of 0.25 ounce of hash or marijuana concentrates or less not purchased from a retailer is considered a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 and 6 months in jail.

  • Possession of more than 0.25 ounce not purchased from a retailer is considered a felony punishable by 5 years in jail and a fine of up to $125,000.

Possible Remedies for Violators of Oregon Marijuana Laws

Offenders facing marijuana charges in Oregon can choose to hire a professional lawyer to defend them in court or negotiate lesser penalties with the state prosecutor. First-time offenders can seek a drug diversion program in Oregon, which is often exclusive to DUII violators. Eligible defendants must complete the 12-month diversion program, pay certain fees to the court, and take a driving course. After successful completion of the marijuana diversion program, the court may drop the marijuana charges and erase any conviction history.

What is Oregon's Cannabis History?

Before 1935, cannabis was legal in Oregon. In 1935, the State of Oregon adopted the Uniform State Narcotic Drug Act. The Act made the possession, production, and distribution of any narcotic, including cannabis, a crime. The Uniform State Narcotic Drug Act was a precursor to the federal Controlled Substance Act.

In 1973, Oregon made history by becoming the first state in the United States to decriminalize small amounts for personal use. However, it remained a crime to possess over an ounce or to sell cannabis. In 1998, Oregon approved cannabis use for individuals for certain qualifying medical conditions. Medically qualified patients were permitted to possess up to 3 mature cannabis plants or contract someone to grow them on their behalf.

In 2005, Oregon established the medical card program and permitted patients to reimburse their growers for certain growing expenses. The State also increased the allowable limit to 24 ounces of usable cannabis and 6 plants. In 2012, Oregon created a medical registry system that permitted medical marijuana dispensaries by state-issued license.

In 2014, Oregon joined two other states by becoming the third state to legalize the personal use of cannabis under Ballot Measure 91. Although it would not be until a few months later for Oregon's recreational marijuana program to fully take effect, under emergency legislation, medical dispensaries were permitted to sell medical cannabis to recreational consumers from October 1, 2015.

In 2016, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) began issuing licenses to recreational facilities. From January 2017, only licensed facilities could sell to the recreational market. By 2022, the state agency is now regarded as the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission.

What are Restrictions on Cannabis in Oregon?

While both medical and recreational cannabis are legal in Oregon, the state places certain restrictions on its use and possession. Restrictions on Cannabis in Oregon include:

  • Anyone who buys or uses recreational cannabis (regardless of type) must be at least 21 years old.

  • Gifting or selling cannabis to minors is illegal.

  • Gifting or selling cannabis to adults (even of legal age) where a financial consideration is associated with the transfer involved is illegal. Financial consideration covers charges, admission, donations, tip jars, raffles, fundraiser events, purchase required, barter, or sales.

  • Driving under the influence of cannabis is illegal.

  • Smoking, eating, or vaping cannabis in public is illegal.

  • Consuming cannabis within 1,000 feet of a school ground is illegal

  • Oregon residents cannot consume cannabis on federal lands and properties.

  • Oregon property owners can ban the use and possession of cannabis on their properties if they choose.

  • Oregon residents cannot take cannabis across state lines, even if they are going to another cannabis-friendly state.

Oregon Marijuana Laws