Oregon launched recreational pot sales Thursday. What Washingtonians should know.
With Voodoo doughnuts in hand, some Portlanders got their first taste of legal, recreational, purchased-in-Oregon weed early Thursday morning.
With cheaper taxes, legal home grow and a regulated medical marijuana system, some in the Washington pot industry worry the state will struggle to compete once Oregon’s market gets running at full speed.
Here’s how Oregon’s law compares:
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In Washington, people 21 and over can possess up to an ounce of marijuana. An ounce is the equivalent of about 60 average size joints.
Oregon allows people 21 and over to possess eight times as much (8 oz.) at home and grow up to four plants per household. The Oregonian actually put together a video series that teaches people how to grow their own marijuana. As in Washington, Oregonians can carry an ounce around with them.
Medical marijuana patients in both states are allowed to possess more pot and grow their own marijuana.
For now, pot is only being sold through Oregon’s early sales program, which allows small amounts of marijuana to be sold through the state’s medical marijuana dispensaries.
People are allowed to buy seven grams of pot, but not edibles or concentrates until the Oregon Liquor Control Commission launches its regulated market. The state is still working on permitting and rules for that marketplace.
In Washington, more than 200 recreational stores are licensed, and more than 180 report sales. Dispensaries are still serving some medical-marijuana patients in Washington, but their number is not known and they will be folded into the state’s regulated system soon or be shut down.
In Oregon, more than 200 medical dispensaries told the state they would be selling recreational pot as part of the early sales program.
Where you can consume
Neither state lets you consume pot in public.
Pot-buying cheapskates, celebrate: Recreational pot is tax free in Oregon until Jan. 4, when a 25-percent sales tax will be assessed. Once Oregon gets its recreational marijuana system fully operating, taxes will be between 17-20 percent.
Taxes will go toward schools, mental health, drug and alcohol services, drug-abuse prevention, state police, cities and counties.
Washington taxes marijuana at 37 percent. Legislators waged a war over marijuana money last session, but in the end left much of the funding for social services and the state’s general fund. The state now shares pot revenue with cities and counties.
Neither state protects pot-consuming employees from discrimination. You can still get fired if your employer prohibits marijuana use.
Can you fly from Seattle to Portland with marijuana now?
It’s certainly not advisable because airports are under federal jurisdiction. But, the TSA says it is not screening for marijuana or other drugs.
Can you drive across the border with pot?
Technically, crossing state lines with pot is a federal offense. But that doesn’t seem to have stopped people.
Some of Washington state’s best-selling stores are near the Oregon border in Vancouver, Wash. One store told an Oregonian reporter it planned to ramp up concentrates and edibles sales to compete with Portland dispensaries.