Oregon Cannabis Laws
Measure 91 (M91) allows any individual over the age of 21 to grow, purchase, and possess cannabis in limited quantities. There is no residency requirement to purchase, possess, or use marijuana, nor are non-residents prohibited from owning and operating OLCC licensed cannabis businesses. Public consumption remains illegal, though the Oregon State legislature will be considering public consumption during the 2019 legislative session.
The OLCC is designated to oversee and regulate recreational cannabis businesses. The OLCC has the responsibility to issue and monitor six types of licenses. They also have the authority suspend or revoke these licenses for noncompliance with state law or OLCC rules.
Measure 91 establishes taxation rates based upon the sale volume of flowers, leaves, and plants. Subsequently, the taxation rate was changed to 17% for all sales, with an option for local city and county government to impose an additional 3%. Tax revenue from cannabis sales is distributed between the common school fund, mental health, alcoholism and drug services, cities and counties, law enforcement, and alcohol and drug prevention and treatment services.
Which Cities and Counties Prohibit Cannabis Sales?
The private sale of cannabis and its byproducts is illegal throughout the state, and 95 cities and counties that prohibit the sale of marijuana from licensed marijuana retailers. The full list can be found on the OLCC website at: https://www.oregon.gov/olcc/marijuana/Documents/Cities_Counties_RMJOptOut.pdf
A person must be 21 years old, with proper identification, or 18 years old with a medical marijuana program card to purchase, possess or consume cannabis products in Oregon. An individual must also be 21 or older to enter into any licensed hemp or cannabis facility, with very limited exceptions. Proper identification includes a passport, driver’s license, military ID card, or any other state issued identification that includes a person’s name, picture, physical description, and date of birth.
How Much Cannabis Can You Buy in Oregon?
The following are amounts of recreational cannabis products that can be purchased by any person over 21 with proper identification in any single day. There is no Oregon residency requirement for cannabis sales, but all cannabis products sold in Oregon must be consumed in Oregon.
Purchase limits for recreational user:
- 1 ounce of flower
- 5 grams of concentrate or extracts
- 16 ounces of edibles in solid form
- 72 ounces of edibles in liquid form
- 10 cannabis seeds
- 4 immature plants
Purchase limits for OMMP cardholders:
- 24 ounces of usable marijuana (1 ounce from a recreational dispensary)
- 16 ounces of a medical cannabis product in solid form
- 72 ounces of medical cannabis product in liquid form
- 16 ounces of a cannabis concentrate (alone or contained in an inhalant delivery system)
- 50 cannabis seed
- 4 immature plants
* Medical patients have access to medical grade products if available.
Personal Growing Limits
Oregon is one of the few states that currently allows for personal cultivation of cannabis. A household can grow up to a total of 4 plants on their private property. The 4 plant limit is a household limit regardless of the number of adults living in the household. OMMP cardholders can have 6 mature plants, 12 immature plants 24 inches or taller. and 36 immature plants under 24 inches.
Plants can be grown inside or outside; if grown outside, the plants must be out of public view. Some cities or counties restrict the sale of recreational marijuana, but this restriction does not limit household growing. Homegrown cannabis is for personal consumption only and cannot be sold or given to someone in exchange for something of value.
The ability to grow your own cannabis plants is not absolute: If you are leasing your home, the landlord can restrict the property from being used in the cultivation of cannabis. Federal law prohibits growing the plant within 1,000 feet of a school, even if it is on private property. While growing at home is legal, processing the plant into a concentrate without a state-compliant facility is illegal and could be dangerous.
Cannabis Use Restrictions
While it is legal to possess cannabis in almost any location in the state, the use/consumption of cannabis in Oregon is restricted to private property. Use includes smoking, vaping, eating, or drinking a cannabis product. Private property includes personal residences and may include temporary lodging such as hotels, provided that it is permitted by the property owner. However, public areas of a hotel or apartment complex include hallways, lobbies, or pools. There is no public consumption or consumption on property that is open to the public, such as such as streets, sidewalks, parks, bars or restaurants at the time of this publishing. It is being considered for the 2019 legislative session.
Under federal law, it is illegal to possess or consume cannabis and this restriction specifically applies to all federal property. This is an important restriction because the federal government owns more than 50% of the land in Oregon. Examples of federal property in Oregon include federal buildings, national parks, national forests, wildlife areas, and BLM lands.
Transporting Cannabis And Its Derivatives
It is legal to carry these products throughout the state, including in a vehicle or on public transportation, unless it otherwise precluded by such areas as federal land within the state. It is also perfectly legal to carry marijuana on commercial airlines traveling between Klamath Falls and Portland. Transporting across state lines is illegal, even if you are transporting it to a state that has also legalized marijuana such as California or Washington. Just remember: Oregon marijuana must stay in Oregon.
Driving While High
Oregon has strict laws regarding driving under the influence of an intoxicant, DUII (Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants, also known as a DUI). Oregon DUII laws are applied in the same manner with alcohol or marijuana–both are considered intoxicants. For a first offence DUII, a diversion program may be available if the offender was not involved in an accident. This program allows the offender to complete a substance abuse program and be on probation for a period of time. If he successfully completes the diversion program, the DUII charge is dropped and the person will not have a DUII conviction on their record. If it is a second offence, or the offender is not eligible for the diversion program, there is a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 2 days plus substantial fines and the offender must complete a substance abuse program. It is also illegal to consume marijuana in a vehicle even if you are not impaired, similar to open container laws.
Unlike alcohol, there is currently no breathalyzer test for the presence of thc in the blood, but police have drug recognition evaluators conduct tests to determine if a driver is impaired. If the tests suspect a driver is under the influence, Oregon implied consent laws allow police to conduct breath, blood, or urine tests to obtain evidence of drug use.
If you choose to use, make sure to allow enough time for the effect to completely wear off before you drive.
Illegal Acts Related to Cannabis
While Oregon has legalized the recreational use of cannabis, there are limits to what is allowed. Below is a sample of what remains illegal in Oregon:
- Selling or providing cannabis to minors (anyone under the age of 21, or 18 with an OMMP card)
- Transporting cannabis across state lines, including to states where cannabis is legal
- Unlicensed growing, processing, transporting, or sales of cannabis
OLCC and the Cannabis Industry in Oregon
The OLCC oversees six license types; producer, processor, wholesaler, retailer, laboratory, and research licenses. Once products get into the OLCC system, they can only be transferred between OLCC licensed facilities, until they are sold to the end user by a retailer or destroyed, and must be recorded in the Cannabis Tracking System, METRC, which provides seed-to-sale tracking. OLCC rules limit how product can flow between license types and licensees.
The OLCC has regulatory authority of all aspects of the recreational cannabis market, including:
- Product Testing for contaminants, such as pesticides, solvents, and potency
- Packaging and Labeling
- Security systems
- Operational procedures
The OLCC provides strict regulatory oversight by means of scheduled visits, surprise inspections, and third-party complaints to trigger investigations. The OLCC has authority to issue violations with sanctions including fines, license suspension, or license revocation.
The Oregon Medicinal Marijuana Program (OMMP) is administered by the OHA. The OHA licenses and regulates medical cannabis growers, processors, and dispensaries. Cannabis grown or processed under the OMMP program can only be sold to OMMP patients. There are certain exceptions that allow growers and processors to sell products to a recreational licensed facility.
To become an OMMP patient, an individual must be at least 18 years old and have a qualifying condition and a recommendation for using medicinal canabis from their attending physician. OMMP patients are issued medical cards that allow them to purchase cannabis from a medical marijuana dispensary. They can also purchase medical or recreational cannabis tax-free from a recreational cannabis retailer.
The OMMP program is currently in severe decline. In the past year, the number of medical patients has dropped approximately by half and there only 5 OMMP licensed dispensaries, down from about 400 at the peak of the medical program.
Industrial Hemp Regulations
Traditionally, industrial hemp was used for making rope, clothing, and sails for boats, among other products. Now hemp is primarily used to make cannabidiol (CBD) oils. Many people believe that CBD oil has substantial medical benefits such as pain management and reducing swelling. These properties have not been tested by the Food and Drug Administration and the FDA takes the position that no CBD is legal except for the pharmaceutical drug Epidiolex. The FDA has not conducted widespread enforcement action and most CBD products are sold in the market without substantial opposition or testing.
Industrial hemp is defined as the plant Cannabis Sativa with a THC level of less than 0.3%. Industrial hemp in Oregon is regulated by the Oregon Department of Agriculture (the ODA). The ODA issues two type of permits: 1) a grower permit and; 2) a handler permit. These permits are substantially easier and cheaper to obtain as compared to OLCC licenses, and there are much fewer restrictions. If the samples exceed the THC limit, the product must be destroyed. Similarly, processed hemp is required to be tested for THC levels prior to sale. Once the processed hemp is sold by a processor it is considered an agricultural commodity and is not further regulated by the ODA.
Because industrial hemp and cannabis are the same plant species, there is naturally confusion under federal law. In 2014, Congress passed the 2014 Farm Bill which included provisions for industrial hemp. The Farm Bill defines hemp in the same way as Oregon and allows states to grow industrial hemp for experimental purposes under the supervision of a university or a state department of agriculture. Oregon’s industrial hemp program was created under the 2014 Farm Bill.
The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) does not differentiate industrial hemp from recreational cannabis, so hemp and marijuana are treated the same: both are illegal. The CSA does have an exemption for dried mature stalks and sterilized seeds, but there is no economically significant amount of CBD in these parts of the plant, so they are only good for rope and ship sails. This inconsistency in federal law creates confusion and a potential problem for exporting CBD oil out of Oregon or the country. Congress recognizes this issue and the Senate’s version of the 2018 Farm Bill would fix the problem by legalizing industrial hemp. As of this writing, the House version of the bill does not include hemp legalization, but the hemp legalization portion of the Senate’s version, backed strongly by Mitch McConnell and other senate republicans, is widely expected to be passed in the final version of the bill. In addition, the omnibus spending bill they included a provision that prohibits the Department of Justice from using budgetary funds from prosecuting industrial hemp activities conducted in compliance with state industrial hemp pilot programs developed under the 2014 Farm Bill.
History of Cannabis In Oregon
Prior to 1935, cannabis was legal in Oregon. In 1935 Oregon adopted the Uniform State Narcotic Drug Act. This Act made the possession, production, and distribution of any narcotic a crime. The Uniform State Narcotic Drug Act is the precursor to the Controlled Substances Act.
In 1973, Oregon became the first US State to decriminalize small amounts of cannabis for personal use. It was still a crime possess over an ounce or to sell cannabis.
In 1998, Oregon approved its use for individuals for certain qualifying medical conditions. Medically qualified patients could possess up to three mature cannabis plants or could contract for someone to grow them on their behalf.
In 2005, Oregon created the current medical card program and allowed the patient to reimburse their growers for certain growing expenses. They also increased the allowable limit to 24 ounces of usable cannabis and six plants. In 2012, Oregon created a medical registry system which permitted medical marijuana dispensaries by state-issued license.
In 2014, Oregon became the third state to legalize the personal use of cannabis, under ballot measure 91. While it would take another few months for Oregon’s recreational marijuana program to fully take effect, under emergency legislation, medical dispensaries were permitted to sell medical cannabis to recreational customer beginning October 1, 2015.
In 2016, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (the OLCC) began issuing licenses to recreational facilities. By January 2017, only OLCC licensed facilities could sell to the recreational market.
Hemp and Cannabis – Legal Status
While the majority of states have legalized medical or recreational use of cannabis, federal law criminalizes cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act. In 2014 the U.S. Department of Justice issued a series of memos written by then Deputy Attorney General James Cole. These memos (known as the First and Second Cole Memos) recognized the DOJ’s inability to prosecute all drug crimes, so they establish eight enforcement priorities. In the event that a state legal activity did not implicate one of the priorities, it would be unlikely that the DOJ would prosecute, however, the DOJ made no guarantees. In 2018, the U.S. Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III rescinded the Cole Memos. The revocation was generally considered a repudiation of the cannabis industry. In practice, the revocation put the decision to prosecute state legal activities in the hands of the local U.S. Attorney in each respective region. The U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon, Billy Williams, has publicly announced his priorities for prosecuting cannabis activities, and his priorities are very similar to the Cole Memo Priorities.
Can You Legally Buy Cannabis Seeds Online?
A substantial number of states allow medical marijuana, along with a growing number of places that have legalized recreational cannabis. The public is becoming more aware of the potential benefits of marijuana. People also realize that the damaging side effects of cannabis are often overstated, although some are real. Nonetheless, there is a softening in the stance towards the plant, which is even apparent on a political level.
As well as allowing people to use weed, an increasing number of states are relaxing restrictions on growing it at home.
You’ll need seeds to do so, but this is where it gets complicated for American residents in particular. Even if you live in California, where it is legal to grow cannabis at home, and purchase seeds from a Colorado-based seed bank, your package can STILL be confiscated.
Indeed, you could get in more trouble buying seeds from within the US than from an overseas country! This is the reason why most reputable seed banks that you hear about are located in Europe! This article delves deeper into the legality surrounding the purchase of cannabis seeds in the United States and offers tips to ensure you buy a high-quality product.
Marijuana Seeds Law
Cannabis remains a federally illegal substance in the United States. The plant’s seeds are also classified as cannabis, just like concentrate, flower, or edibles. As cannabis seeds are legal in certain states, seed banks operate within America’s borders. However, most of the best-known sellers operate in Canada or Europe. Let’s find out who can purchase seeds in the United States.
Is It Legal to Buy Cannabis Seeds Online in Any State?
As the nation’s cannabis laws state that the substance is federally illegal, it is technically against the law to buy, sell, or use it anywhere in the country. Indeed, the federal government could arrest someone for consuming cannabis if they so choose because federal law supersedes state law.
However, a majority of states allow medical marijuana, and a growing number permit adult-use cannabis. At present, the United States government has shown no indication that it wishes to interfere with a state’s right to legalize marijuana.
The current situation means you can legally get a cannabis seed from a dispensary in states where recreational cannabis is legal. In medical marijuana states, you’ll need to produce an MMJ card. Otherwise, you’re not allowed to purchase cannabis seeds.
Things are different online. It is illegal to transport cannabis seeds across state lines regardless of whether the plant is legal in both states. Therefore, you can only buy the seeds online if the seller is located within your state, and it is a location where adult-use marijuana is allowed.
Of course, you can take the risk of having your seeds confiscated by trying to order online anyway.
Is There Any Reputable American Seed Bank?
Although the United States is one of the world’s most progressive countries in marijuana legalization, the plant remains federally illegal. As long as this remains the case, users face all manner of complications. Ultimately, purchasing marijuana seeds online is only possible if you live in one of a select few states.
If you are concerned about legal issues, we recommend purchasing your seeds directly from a dispensary rather than buying them online. However, residents of Colorado should have no difficulties in theory. Stores such as The Farm and The Green Solution regularly advertise their online seed options. It should be a quick and easy process to buy them online if you are a resident of Colorado.
Elsewhere, it can be a matter of pot luck (pun intended). First and foremost, we can only recommend online seed purchases if you live in a state where growing marijuana at home is legal. If your package gets intercepted, you could face legal consequences, although this unfortunate situation is relatively rare.
You need a reputable seed bank capable of shipping to numerous states that understands the need for discretion. Such companies know how to package their goods to evade detection. If the seeds are confiscated, the firm will either send a new package for free or refund your money.
Which American Seeds Banks Are the Best?
California-based I Love Growing Marijuana (ILGM) is one of the most trustworthy seed sellers we have found in the United States. The website and store are run by Robert Bergman, who is an expert marijuana cultivator. He offers dozens of options and provides FREE shipping to customers in the United States and Europe.
Rocket Seeds is another American seed bank with a positive reputation. It operates out of the Bronx, New York, and is famed for its rapid shipping.
There are numerous Canadian seed banks known for selling excellent products. Noteworthy brands include Crop Seed Kings, MJSeeds, and Beaver Seeds.
Certain online marijuana seed sellers in the United States try to use subterfuge to ensure their customers receive the seeds.
It is possible to buy seeds from stores only if they are ‘used’ as luxury bird food or fishing bait additives.
In February 2015, one month after cannabis legalization went into effect in Washington D.C., the D.C. Cannabis Campaign organized a ‘seed sharing’ event in the country’s capital. As part of the new law, anyone aged 21+ who attended the event was legally allowed to receive an ounce of seeds. Unfortunately, the laws surrounding purchasing marijuana seeds online in the US have remained as clear as mud in the years since.
European Marijuana Seed Banks
Many of the American seed banks that offer marijuana seeds source them from a seed bank in a European country. When we bemoan the issues that cause federal and state laws to become unclear and confusing, it is important to remember that the US is effectively a continent with 50 different states and additional territories.
Europe is also a continent, and it also has more than 50 countries. The laws surrounding marijuana seeds vary according to each nation but become less confusing because they are separate states. That’s not to say that things don’t become complex!
In principle, cannabis seeds are not illegal in Europe, and it is possible to purchase seeds from another country. In general, when a product enters a European country, it becomes subject to that nation’s laws. The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, a 1962 framework for marijuana legalization, is an international treaty that was signed by 180 countries.
In the treaty, marijuana is classed as an illegal substance, but marijuana seeds are not illegal. As international law takes precedence over a country’s own laws, cannabis seeds are technically legal in all 180 countries. Alas, it isn’t as easy as that, and it is much safer to purchase seeds from one European country than another. Here’s a look at marijuana seed laws in a few major European nations:
- Germany: As seeds don’t fall under the German Narcotics Act, they are technically legal to purchase. However, Germany has prohibited the sale of cannabis seeds across the nation, the only EU member state to have done so. As Germany is subject to the EU’s free movement of goods, having seeds sent to Germany is fine.
- United Kingdom: At present, the UK allows for the purchase, sale, or trade of cannabis seeds whether you purchase them domestically or from another European nation. American buyers tend to use UK sellers such as Seedsman, who have been selling seeds globally since 2003. However, we’re not sure what will happen once the UK has left the EU. By the way, UK residents are not allowed to germinate cannabis seeds.
- Netherlands: It is shocking to learn that despite the nation’s relaxed attitude towards marijuana, it is still illegal! However, you should have no issue purchasing cannabis seeds from a Dutch-based seed company. Companies such as Nirvana, MSNL Seeds, and Amsterdam Marijuana Seeds also enjoy good reputations.
- France: Cannabis seeds are legal as long as they are not used for growing. However, you will struggle to find any reputable French cannabis seed dealer.
- Spain: Spain has a similarly lenient policy as the UK. Residents can buy and sell seeds as long as they are for personal use in private areas. Shops need legal authorization to sell seeds. Alicante-based Herbie’s Seeds is a highly rated seed bank.
Types of Marijuana Seeds Available
There are three distinct types of marijuana seeds.
Regular Marijuana Seeds
These seeds come from one female and one male parent. As a result, there is a 50/50 chance that the plant will be the feminized version that carries all of those wonderful cannabinoids. As you have no control of the plant’s gender, there is a chance that you’ll waste weeks waiting for the gender to be revealed.
Feminized Marijuana Seeds
You should purchase feminized seeds instead of their regular counterparts. These seeds have no male chromosomes and are guaranteed to provide resinous bud. In other words, you don’t have to wait for a guarantee which is NOT the case with ‘regular’ seeds.
Autoflowering Marijuana Seeds
This type of seed is your best option if you want to grow your weed indoors. These seeds have genetics that evolved in northern Eurasia which means they are strong and sturdy. They are mixed with Cannabis Ruderalis, a plant known for its ability to grow in harsh weather conditions.
One of the biggest advantages of autoflowering seeds is their ability to produce a minimum of two outdoor crops. When you grow them indoors, however, you can produce four or five crops per annum. Certain strains can become mature in just ten weeks! They are heavily resistant to mold and pests and produce a much higher yield when exposed to a powerful light source.
How to Buy Cannabis Seeds Online Safely
Your safest bet is to stick to one of the reputable seedbanks outlined in this article. Look for companies that have been in the industry for a long time and have earned a significant number of positive customer reviews.
When you purchase a packet of marijuana seeds, make sure the seller explains where the seeds came from and how they were crossed or backcrossed. Don’t risk your money on seeds with no history because there’s no way of telling what you’ll end up with.
The top-rated seed banks are old hands when it comes to getting their products through customs. Some of them offer discreet shipping, which usually involves hiding the seeds in other objects. Therefore, even if a customs official opens the package, it looks like someone else.
The perfect place for seeds…
For your part, it makes sense to make a few small or medium orders. First of all, a large order could draw unwanted attention. Secondly, if one of the packages is confiscated, you won’t lose your entire order.
Finally, you could consider paying via cryptocurrency. Digital currencies such as Bitcoin leave no official record. The issue here is that the volatility of crypto means your order could become expensive in hindsight. Imagine paying in Bitcoin, only to discover that the digital currency’s value doubles in the following two weeks!
Final Thoughts on Buying Marijuana Seeds Online
As much as we would love to provide a definitive answer to the title question, we have to admit that it is complicated. You can purchase seeds within most states where growing marijuana is legal, but the issue is clouded by the fact that marijuana is federally illegal. Then there is the small matter of the nuances of state and even local law.
You should be able to purchase from seed banks in the UK and Netherlands, but make sure you do your research and find a reputable company. The last thing you want is to buy what you think are feminized seeds, only to discover that they are regular seeds capable of producing male plants!
EDITOR’S CHOICE – Homegrown CannabisCo
Homegrown CannabisCo are the masters when it comes to seeds. Offering a massive variety of cannabis seeds that are well categorized, not only does this company create a resource for superb quality options including feminized seeds, it also provides extensive growing information for those looking for some support along their journey.
Will Customs Confiscate My Cannabis Seeds?
Yes, but only if they find them! Some reputable seed banks claim that customs confiscate only 5% of their shipments. A growing number of seed banks use discreet shipping. This involves sending additional ‘gifts’ you didn’t order to conceal the seeds. You’ll receive a confiscation letter instead of the seeds if your purchase is halted at customs. However, the top-rated seed banks tend to offer a money-back guarantee if this happens.
Is It Illegal to Send Seeds in the Mail?
As cannabis is federally illegal, transporting the plant’s seeds across state lines is against the law. This is the case even if you are sending them from one adult-use state to another. However, there is little chance of getting into legal trouble. For a start, it is possible to buy them for research or collectible purposes rather than using them to grow plants.
You’re more likely to get in trouble for sending marijuana seeds from one state to another in America than sending them into the US from abroad. However, it is rare to hear of anyone getting into legal trouble for sending cannabis seeds in the mail. Usually, the worst-case scenario is that your seeds are confiscated.
Why Are Most of the Top Seed Banks International?
It is mainly due to legal issues. The world’s best seed banks are generally located in places like the Netherlands, UK, and Spain, where marijuana laws aren’t as strict as in the United States. US cannabis law means an American seed bank faces greater legal issues when sending products from one state to another than their international equivalent.
However, there are a few high-quality American seed banks, such as I Love Growing Marijuana.
Can Non-Residents Buy Seeds Online?
It is not a good idea! As marijuana is federally legal, non-residents can be deported from the United States if they have a job in a legal cannabis dispensary! Indeed, even the use of legal marijuana can result in deportation. Therefore, we would urge non-residents NOT to purchase cannabis seeds online or in a dispensary. Even if there is a relatively small chance of being caught, it isn’t worth the risk.
Is Ordering Cannabis Seeds Online Safe?
The answer is ‘yes,’ but only as long as you buy the seeds from a reputable seed bank. Apart from I Love Growing Marijuana, MSNL Seed Bank, Crop Seed Kings, and Sensi Seeds have all established a reputation for high-quality seeds. These companies provide seeds with a high germination rate and offer an excellent range of strains.