It was just a few years ago that marijuana was illegal everywhere in the United States, without exception. The policy landscape has changed quite a bit since.
Voters in Alaska, Colorado, and the state of Washington, for example, voted to legalize marijuana in recent years, and their state-based experiments have been allowed to proceed because the Obama administration extended its approval.
Meanwhile, a similar – but not identical – change is underway in Oregon, effective today. The Oregonian reported this morning:
As of today, if you are 21 or older, you can legally possess and grow cannabis in Oregon. That’s right, a pretty historic day.If you want to mark the day by buying some pot to consume, you’re out of luck. For now, people can only share or give away marijuana and starter plants so you’ll have to hit up a generous friend, though a bill allowing recreational marijuana sales at dispensaries in the fall is making its way through the Oregon Legislature.
Got that? You can possess marijuana (in limited quantities). You can grow marijuana. You can even smoke marijuana. You just can’t buy marijuana.
Oregon does have one exception, however, in the form of pot dispensaries that provide medical marijuana to qualifying patients. For everyone else who wants pot, however, it’s time to either start gardening or turning to generous friends.
Note, these current limits within state law may yet change. The Oregonian’s report noted that state officials are expected to license recreational-marijuana retailers, along the lines of what consumers see in Colorado, Alaska, and Washington.
This change, however, isn’t expected until the second half of 2016. What’s more, federal law remains unchanged, which means if an aggressive pot opponent is elected president, by 2017, each of these state experiments may come to an abrupt end.