Washington’s neighbor to the south legalized possession, manufacture, and sale of marijuana in Tuesday’s election. Much of Oregon’s regulatory marijuana law is still under construction, but what is completed is a compilation of elements from Washington’s and Colorado’s marijuana laws.
Even with an intricate law, the bottom line is possession, manufacture, and sale of marijuana is legal for people at least 21 years of age.
While Washington’s law requires a 25 percent tax at each point of sale — production, processing, and retail — Oregon will charge a one-time tax to producers of $35 per ounce for flower, $10 per ounce for leaves, and $5 each for immature plants.
A major difference between Oregon’s and Washington’s laws is the allowance for Oregon residents to grow their own plants. Home cultivation is prohibited in Washington. Similar to Colorado’s law allowing possession of six plants, residents in Oregon are allowed four plants.
While Washington capped the number of retail licenses at 334, Oregon chose not to cap the number of retailers.
Rules regarding medical marijuana have not yet been addressed, but given issues recently reported by The Seattle Times, it wouldn’t be a shock to have the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, the regulating body that will oversee the manufacture, sale, and possession of marijuana, keep tabs on how Washington handles integrating medical and recreational marijuana retailers.
OLCC Executive Director Steven Marks said the commission will work on closing loopholes and creating a comprehensive law that will prevent sales to minors, establish standards, and support law enforcement. The measure will take effect on July 1, 2015. The commission has until Jan. 1, 2016 to create a regulatory system for recreational pot businesses.
The OLCC will accept business license applications until Jan. 4, 2016. The majority of regulations for growers, processors, wholesalers, and retailers have not been finalized. According to the OLCC, a public rule-making process will determine regulations for the different licenses.
“Although we have learned much already, we will continue to look to our Washington and Colorado neighbors for best practices and opportunities for improvement,” Marks said in a statement.
Residents in Alaska and Washington, D.C., also voted to legalize marijuana Tuesday. A proposal to legalize medical marijuana was shut down by voters in Florida. California, Massachusetts, Maine, Nevada, and Arizona are expected to have recreational marijuana initiatives on the ballot in 2016, according to CNN.