Oregon’s Medical Marijuana Deliveries Now Legal in Areas Banning Sales

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When Oregonians cast their ballots on the recreational marijuana measure, 80 cities and 16 counties in the state opted out of the program. Fortunately for state-issued medical card holders, two significant changes to cannabis laws will take place.

First, there is an increase in purchasing power from one to eight ounces. Second, the state will allow the delivery of cannabis flower and products to homes within the areas where retail sales were banned. These new rules are effective on Dec. 28, 2018.

Currently, some retail outlets offer cannabis delivery. Additionally, there are store-to-door services that work with dispensaries. In 2017, Portland, Oregon “implemented a special retail courier license allowing recreational cannabis delivery within city limits,” according to Willamette Week’s Potlandia.

Unfortunately, many store-to-door companies closed because of the lack of consumers. As of Dec. 14, 2018, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) website only lists three licenses.

While the number of medical marijuana patients who reside in areas where it is banned is unavailable, “more than 40,000 Oregonians depend on medical marijuana to treat their qualifying medical conditions,” Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen said in a prepared statement.

Marijuana Legalization History in Oregon

Cannabis laws in Oregon took over four decades to evolve from decriminalization of small quantities to the first recreational sale. Here are the key dates:

  • 1973 – Oregon became the first state to decriminalize possession of small amounts.
  • 1998 – Voters approved cannabis use for medicinal use. After being accepted for a medical permit the patient or their designee were required to grow their own. Patients were allowed to have one ounce of flower, four immature plants, and three mature. NOTE: In 2018, the definition of young plants under 24 inches and mature is a plant beginning the flowering process.
  • 2004 – Voters rejected a measure that would establish retail sales for medical patients.
  • 2005 – The state’s legislature increased marijuana allowances for medicinal users. Updated quantities were 24 ounces of flower, six immature plants and 18 mature.
  • 2010 – Retail medical cannabis once against turned down by voters.
  • 2012 – Voters reject Measure 80, a proposal to legalize personal possession and cultivation for people 21 and older.
  • 2012 – The legislature passed two laws:
    a) Medical marijuana dispensaries registry became effective.
    b) Reduction of personal possession charges for those caught with between 1-4 ounces from a felony to a misdemeanor takes place.  Furthermore, they repealed the practice of suspending driver’s licenses of those cited for possession of less than an ounce.
  • 2013 – Legislators passed a law that allowed local governments to impose moratoriums on dispensaries for a year.
  • 2013 – The Oregon Health Authority was tasked with drafting rules for the labeling and packaging of infused edibles to make the products less attractive to children.
  • 2014 – Voters made Oregon the third state to legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 and over. The law allowed consumers to possess and grow cannabis. It also provided the creation of taxation and regulation for retail sales. In areas where no votes exceeded 55 percent, the local governments were required to file a “Local Option Opt-Out” form.
  • 2015 – Changes to the criminal statutes become effective on July 1. Adults 21 and older could now possess up to an ounce in public and up to eight ounces at their residence, as well as four plants per household.
  • 2016 – The OLCC was required to have regulations in place for the production, processing, and sale of cannabis on January 1.
  • 2016 – On January 4, the state must begin the licensing process for sales, processing, and production.
  • 2016 – The OLCC issued the first licenses for recreational marijuana production on April 29.
  • 2016 – On October 1, the OLCC issues licensure for recreational cannabis retail outlets.
  • 2017 – January 1st was the first-day individuals 21 and up could legally purchase recreational marijuana.

None of the opted out cities and counties chose to have an initiative for voters to change their position on sales in their area on the 2018 ballot. Now that the OLCC has issued exceptions for the delivery of marijuana flower and products to residents in banned areas perhaps an increase in courier businesses will take place. Moreover, residents and those delivering cannabis will no longer be breaking the law.

Written by Cathy Milne-Ware


Salem Statesman Journal: Oregon approves medical marijuana deliveries where retail sales are banned
Oregon Liquor Control Commission: Record of Cities/Counties Prohibiting Licensed Recreational Marijuana Facilities
The Oregonian: Legal marijuana in Oregon: A look at the state’s pot history.
Willamette Week: Potlandia; From Farm to Doorstep, a Survey of Portland’s Cannabis Delivery Services

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Louis’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License


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