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Oregon releases update on recreational marijuana

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission has updated its frequently asked questions site for information about Oregon’s recreational cannabis system.

Sales from the full recreational system likely won’t begin until late 2016. The state currently allows recreational sales through medical dispensaries, under a temporary early start program that will end in December, 2016.

The full FAQ is available online here:

Below are a selection of consumer-focused questions from the release:


Q:  When can I smoke/use recreational marijuana?
A:   As of July 1, 2015, Oregonians are allowed to grow up to four plants on their property, possess up to eight ounces of usable marijuana in their homes and up to one ounce on their person. Recreational marijuana cannot be sold or smoked in public. For more information go to:
Q:  Where and when can I buy marijuana?
A:   Limited amounts of recreational marijuana are available for purchase through participating medical marijuana dispensaries as of October 1, 2015. Retail stores licensed by the OLCC will open sometime in the second half of 2016.

Q:  Where can I buy recreational marijuana if the retail locations will not be licensed until Fall 2016? 

A:  Medical dispensaries participating in early start recreational sales are able to continue selling limited amounts of recreational marijuana until December 31, 2016.  You may continue to purchase marijuana from those locations.
Q:  Where and when can I buy edibles and extracts?
A:   Edibles will eventually be available at retail outlets licensed by the OLCC, hopefully at the same time that the stores open in the second half of 2016.
Q:  How much marijuana can I have?
A:  As of July 1, 2015, recreational marijuana users can possess up to eight ounces of useable marijuana and four plants per residence in Oregon. An individual can carry up to one ounce in public.
Q:  What is meant by “useable” marijuana?
A:   Useable marijuana refers to dried marijuana flowers or leaves. In other words, marijuana that is ready to smoke.
Q:  Can I grow marijuana at home and when?
A:   Yes, with limits. As of July 1, 2015, Oregonians can home grow of up to four plants per residence, regardless of how many people live in the residence. Four adults in one residence does not mean 16 plants. The limit is four per residence.
Q:  Where can I obtain marijuana seeds or starts after July 1, 2015?
A:  The OLCC can provide no guidance on that issue.

Q:  Is synthetic marijuana legal?

A:  No, the Oregon Board of Pharmacy has voted to ban sale and possession of synthetic marijuana.  Synthetic marijuana is comprised of a number of different chemicals, none of which are derived from the plant Cannabis family Cannabaceae, any part of the plant Cannabis family Cannabaceae and the seeds of the plant Cannabis family Cannabaceae.  The chemicals contained in synthetic marijuana have been added to the Oregon Board of Pharmacy’s list of controlled substances.  
Q. Can a landlord tell tenants not to grow recreational marijuana or smoke in rental units?
A. Measure 91 does not affect existing landlord/tenant laws.
Q:  What if an employer requires drug testing?
A:  Measure 91 does not affect existing employment law. Employers who require drug testing can continue to do so.
Q:  Can I smoke marijuana in a bar/restaurant?
A:  No. Marijuana cannot be smoked or used in a public place. The OLCC considers any establishment with a state liquor license to be public, including patios or decks set aside for smokers. Allowing marijuana use may put an establishment’s liquor license in jeopardy.
Q:  What is the definition of a public place?
A:   Measure 91 defines a public place as “a place to which the general public has access and includes, but is not limited to, hallways, lobbies, and other parts of apartment houses and hotels not constituting rooms or apartments designed for actual residence, and highways, streets, schools, places of amusement, parks, playgrounds and premises used in connection with public passenger transportation.”
Q:  Who can smoke recreational marijuana? What is the minimum age?
A:  As of July 1, 2015, anyone at least 21 years of age can consume recreational marijuana in Oregon. Marijuana use or possession of recreational marijuana by anyone under 21 years of age is illegal. That includes home consumption.
Q:  Who will enforce recreational marijuana laws?
A:   Enforcement of the home grow/personal possession provisions of Measure 91 will be at the discretion of local jurisdictions, the state police and possibly other law enforcement agencies. The OLCC is responsible for enforcement actions against businesses that the OLCC licenses to grow, process, wholesale and sell recreational marijuana and related products.
Q:  How much will recreational marijuana cost?
A:  The retail price of recreational marijuana will be determined through a competitive marketplace.
Q:  Can Oregon recreational marijuana be taken to the state of Washington where it is also legal?
A:   No. Taking marijuana across state lines is a federal offense.
Q:  How will children be protected from recreational marijuana and marijuana products?
A:  Measure 91 prohibits the sale of recreational marijuana to anyone under the age of 21. The act also gives OLCC authority to regulate or prohibit advertising. In writing the rules necessary to implement the new law, the OLCC may also regulate packages and labels to ensure public safety and prevent appeal to minors.
Q:  Can I get a DUII while under the influence of marijuana?
A:   Yes. Current laws for DUII have not changed. Driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII) refers to operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated or drugged, including impairment from the use of marijuana. If you receive a DUI ticket, get a free consultation now at dougtaylorlaw.comto to negotiate with their excellent DUI Lawyer. In addition, Measure 91 requires OLCC to examine, research and present a report to the Legislature on driving under the influence of marijuana. The OLCC will do this in conjunction with the Department of Justice Criminal Investigation Division and Oregon State Police.
Q:  Can I lose my job for using marijuana?
A:   That depends on who you work for and what your employer says about the use of marijuana by employees. Passage of Measure 91 does not change existing employment law in Oregon.
Q:  Where will marijuana stores be located?
A:   Marijuana retailers may not be located within 1000 feet of a school. All licensed businesses must be located in an area that is appropriately zoned. Also, local jurisdictions have authority to adopt reasonable regulations regarding the location of marijuana businesses, including regulations requiring that the businesses be located no more than 1000 feet from one another. To keep up to date, click here.

Q.  What impact does the new recreational marijuana law have on the current Medical Marijuana Program?
A:  Beginning in 2016 medical marijuana growers may apply for an OLCC license to sell their excess product into the recreational market.  Medical dispensaries can currently sell a one quarter ounce of marijuana flower to any adult over the age of 21. Visit the Oregon Health Authority website for participating dispensaries. This provision sunsets on December 31, 2016.

Q:  Who collects the tax on recreational marijuana?
A:  Taxes on recreational marijuana will be collected by the Oregon Department of Revenue at the retail level.

Q:  How is Washington state’s recreational marijuana law different than Oregon’s?
A:   See Oregon/Washington/Colorado Comparison.

Q:  Is it legal to possess or use recreational marijuana on Federal or Tribal land in Oregon?
A:  Measure 91 and HB 3400 do not address the possession or use of recreational marijuana on the land of Federally Recognized Tribes in Oregon.  This is an issue between the Federal Government and Tribal Governments. 

Q:  Where can I buy recreational marijuana if the retail locations will not be licensed until Fall 2016? 
A:  Medical dispensaries participating in early start recreational sales are able to continue selling limited amounts of recreational marijuana until December 31, 2016.  You may continue to purchase marijuana from those locations.
Q:  When will retail recreational marijuana stores be open?
A:  The exact date is up in the air, but the most likely time is during the fourth quarter of 2016.
Q:  Will the OLCC distribute marijuana out of a central warehouse?
A:   No. Marijuana will be distributed by those who hold an OLCC recreational marijuana license.
Q:  Will there be a quota for how many retail outlets will be allowed?
A:  The measure does not specifically address the number of retail outlets allowed. Specifics for licensing retail outlets will be part of the rule-making process that is currently underway.

Q:  Who will be eligible for a marijuana retail sales license (i.e. own a store)?

A:  Anyone over 21 years of age and older will be eligible for a recreational marijuana license if they meet certain conditions outlined in section 29 of Measure 91. Under those conditions, the OLCC may refuse a license if it believes the applicant:
  • Is in the habit of using alcoholic beverages, habit-forming drugs, marijuana, or controlled substances to excess.
  • Has made false statements to the commission.
  • Is incompetent or physically unable to carry on the management of the establishment proposed to be licensed.
  • Has been convicted of violating a general or local law of this state or another state, or of violating a federal law, if the conviction is substantially related to the fitness and ability of the applicant to lawfully carry out activities under the license.
  • Has maintained an insanitary establishment.
  • Is not of good repute and moral character.
  • Did not have a good record of compliance with sections 3 to 70 of this Act or any rule of the commission adopted pursuant thereto.
  • Is not the legitimate owner of the business proposed to be licensed, or other persons have ownership interests in the business which have not been disclosed.
  • Is not possessed of or has not demonstrated financial responsibility sufficient to adequately meet the requirements of the business proposed to be licensed.
  • Is unable to understand the laws of Oregon relating to marijuana or the rules of the commission.
Q:  Is there a limit to the number of licenses that will be issued?
A:  No.  There is no limit to the number of licenses the OLCC will be issuing.
Q:  Can all license types buy and purchase from each other? 
A:  Yes, however there are certain restrictions regarding who can buy what items.  You are encouraged to read the rules and review all the specific privileges under each license type.  For example:  a producer may not sell useable marijuana to another producer, only immature plants.
Q:  If I am teaching an education class on growing marijuana do I need a license?
A:  If you are within the laws of personal possession, then no.  If you are intending to sell marijuana products then you will need a license.
Q:  Are franchises a possibility?
A:  Yes, there is nothing in our current rule language prohibiting franchises.
Q:  Can I open a smoking lounge?
A:  Public consumption is still prohibited under law.  Licensure for a cannabis café allowing public use would require a statutory change.  Also, cannabis falls under the regulation of Oregon’s Clean Air Act in 2016.
Q:  I have an outside investor.  Will I be denied a license because they don’t meet the residency requirements?
A:  This depends on their specific involvement and structure.  If an investor meets the definition of an applicant, they will need to meet the residency requirements. 
Q:  What is the minimum age of the workers on a site?
A:  All employees must be 21+.
Q:  Who came up with the 5mg limit for edibles?
A:  This was determined by the OHA.  By law, the OLCC is required to accept the OHA established limit.
Q:  Are we unable to use the words: candy, sweet, or delicious on the label? 
A:  It is important to keep in mind the intent is for marijuana products to NOT be appealing to children. Businesses should use common sense in regards to what is appealing to children, and to remember all items should be geared towards adults.
Q:  Is child resistance required for the initial use or for each subsequent use?
A:  If there are multiple servings of a cannabinoid concentrate, extract or product, the package must be child resistant at all times.  Usable marijuana is only required to be in a child resistant package at time of sale. 
Q:  Who is responsible for testing the products?
A:  There is no specific licensee that is responsible for the products to be tested, however all items must be tested prior to being sold to the public. Please see the Oregon Health Authority administrative rules at for more information. 
Q:  Can non-marijuana businesses share the commercial kitchen space of marijuana producers if there is a clear schedule?
A:  No, per our current rules, non-marijuana processing activity may not take place on the licensed premises. 
Q:  Can I have a drive thru window if I’m approved for a retail license?
A:  No, drive thru windows are prohibited by statute.
Q:  At what level are taxes collected?
A:  At the retail sale to the consumer; the tax is 17% for the state and up to 3% at the local level, for a potential top rate of 20%
Q:  Will recreational retailers be able to sell every type of recreational marijuana product that a medical dispensary can sell?
A: Yes.
Q:  Can a non-profit give away free medication to an Armed Services Veteran at a retail store?
A:  No.  You cannot offer different prices or provide free samples from a retail location because the products must be taxed and prices must remain consistent for all purchasers.
Q:  Are there any deadlines for the local municipalities to opt-out?

A:  Those cities and counties that voted 55% or more in opposition to Measure 91 and must have adopted an opt-out ordinance by December 27, 2015.  For those cities/counties that are putting the matter on the next general election, there is no deadline.

Q:  Is there a 1,000 foot distance rule between OLCC recreational marijuana licenses?
A:  The OLCC currently does not have a 1,000 foot rule between recreational businesses.  However local municipalities have the ability to adopt restrictions regarding time, place, and manner.  You are encouraged to work with your local government directly to be in compliance with their rules.
Q:  Is it is acceptable to have an OLCC business on an area zoned rural residential?
A:  The OLCC does not have any restrictions regarding rural residential zoned areas.  This is up to the local jurisdiction.
Q:  Does a college meet the definition of school?
A:  Oregon statute defines a school as:
(a) A public elementary or secondary school for which attendance is compulsory under ORS 339.020; or
(b) A private or parochial elementary or secondary school, teaching children as described in ORS 339.030 (1)(a)

Q:  If you’re currently a grower for the Medical Marijuana Program can you still participate in the OLCC Recreational marijuana program?

A:  Yes, those currently registered as growers for the Medical Marijuana Program under the OHA may still participate in the OLCC recreational program at the same location under the Opt-In provision found in our rules. Opt-In producers are limited to the number of plants allowed by OHA, and can only sell the excess amount of product into to the recreational market.   Please refer to Section 845-025-2400 of our temporary rules for more information.

Q:  Can an OLCC licensed producer supply products to Medical Marijuana Dispensaries?

A:  No.  Marijuana grown under the OLCC producer license is intended to stay within the OLCC licensing system.

Q:  I currently have a Medical Dispensary registered under the OHA.  Can I co-locate, using the same address for my OLCC licensed retail store?

A:  Currently the law does not all co-location of dispensaries and OLCC licenses. It may be possible for medical marijuana and recreational marijuana businesses to be located in the same building that has different suites/units in the building.  However each suite/unit would need its own address and must be completely separate.  No sharing of facilities, space, or marijuana products will be permitted.


Q:  If I currently own a Medical Marijuana Dispensary and I apply for an OLCC license, do I have to close up my dispensary until I’ve approved?
A:  No, you may continue your medical business as normal until the time of approval, assuming you are following OHA rules.  Once approved for an OLCC retail license you must cease all medical business practices and no medical marijuana products may be located on the licensed premises.  The investigator reviewing your application will keep you informed of the status of your application, you will know when it is the appropriate time to possibly sell down all medical products to prepare for OLCC licensure.
Q:  I thought I read there is a 25% tax not 17% at the time of sales.
A:  Recreational marijuana sold in medical dispensaries will be subject to the 25% sales tax at the beginning of 2016.  OLCC licensed retailers, which we anticipate will open in Fall 2016, will be subject to the 17% sales tax at the state level and up to an additional 3% at the local level.
Q:  What is the purpose of legalizing recreational marijuana?
A:  As stated in Measure 91, the purpose of the Act is to:
  • Eliminate the problems caused by the prohibition and uncontrolled manufacture, delivery, and possession of marijuana within this state;
  • Protect the safety, welfare, health, and peace of the people of this state by prioritizing the state’s limited law enforcement resources in the most effective, consistent, and rational way;
  • Permit persons licensed, controlled, regulated, and taxed by this state to legally manufacture and sell marijuana to persons 21 years of age and older, subject to the provisions of this Act;
  • Ensure that the State Department of Agriculture issues industrial hemp licenses and agricultural hemp seed production permits in accordance with existing state law;
  • Establish a comprehensive regulatory framework concerning marijuana under existing state law.
Q:  What does Measure 91 do?
A:  Measure 91 allows Oregonians to grow limited amounts of marijuana on their property and to possess personal limited amounts of recreational marijuana for personal use beginning July 1, 2015 under Oregon law. The measure also gives OLCC authority to tax, license and regulate recreational marijuana grown, sold, or processed for commercial purposes. The OLCC does not regulate the home grow/personal possession provisions of the law. The sale of small amounts of recreational marijuana through medical marijuana dispensaries which started October 1, is regulated by the Oregon Health Authority. The OLCC will begin accepting applications for growers, wholesalers, processors and retail outlets on January 4, 2016.

Q.  When did Measure 91 go into effect?
A.  The home grow/personal possession provisions of the measure started on July 1, 2015. Sales of small amounts of recreational marijuana through medical marijuana dispensaries began October 1. Visit the Oregon Health Authority’s website to locate participating dispensaries. The OLCC will begin issuing commercial recreational marijuana licenses to growers, wholesalers, processors and retail outlets in 2016.

Q.  Who will implement the initiative?
A.  The initiative designates the Oregon Liquor Control Commission as the state agency that will regulate the commercial growing and selling of recreational marijuana. It also gives the OLCC authority to license and regulate commercial recreational marijuana operations. The OLCC has no authority to regulate or enforce the home grow/personal possession provisions of the law.  Sales of small amounts of recreational marijuana through medical marijuana dispensaries are regulated through the Oregon Health Authority.

Q:  Has Measure 91 been changed from what voters approved?
A:  Yes. The 2015 session of the Oregon Legislature made technical changes to Measure 91. It also authorized the sale of small amounts of recreational marijuana through Oregon Health Authority medical marijuana dispensaries as of October 1. The Legislature also changed the way recreational marijuana is taxed. Instead of the OLCC imposing the tax at the grower level, it will now be imposed at the retail level and collected by the Department of Revenue.

Q:  Where can I get more information?
A:  As updates occur and information is available, we will share that information with you on this
website. To keep up to date, click here.

Q:  What if I have additional questions?

A:  Please send additional questions to

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