Let’s Talk About Weed

October started with some serious ups and downs for Oregon. We’ve all been big fans of weed for some time, in 1997 Oregon was the first state to decriminalize the plant and we were also among the first to prescribe it for medical purposes. I guess just being true to Oregon’s hipster nature, we did it before it was cool.

As of October 1st 2015 persons above twenty-one years of age can walk into any marijuana dispensary and purchase up to 7 grams at a time. Customers enter a waiting room were their IDs are checked, and then they are let into another room where they can request a particular strain from one of the store’s staff members. All the contents of each strain (percent of THC vs CBD) are made publicly available. Glassware is also for sale at these locations and state residence are allowed to purchase up to four seeds to grow their own plants. The information is recorded at the store location although customers are assured that their info will not be given away.
This coming January though the law changes slightly. Unfortunately for regular pot consumers the taxes will increase from 25% to 70% making in store purchases a little more difficult, on the bright side though that money will go towards education and mental health. Also oils, candies, and cannabis pills will become available for recreational sale at this time. All though selling marijuana without a license still will not be allowed, possession is totally in the clear and gifting marijuana items to friends is also acceptable.

Since marijuana is not federally legal urine tests are still required by some employers. Marijuana is a schedule one drug nationwide which personally I think this is ridiculous, being that it is less addictive than say caffeine or alcohol. Other schedule one substances are methaqualone (otherwise known by the brand name Quaalude), peyote, ecstasy, LSD, and heroin. First off, no. Any healthcare professional will gladly tell you that heroin is no where near the same ballpark as weed. Secondly schedule one substances are defined by the DEA as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse (www.dea.gov), both things which are clearly not true of marijuana. The real issue marijuana seems to present is with the pharmaceutical companies. Very few people would choose to buy their current laboratory drugs, which are riddled with side effects, over a plant that can literally be grown in their own backyard. Big pharma does not like that fact. Colorado though has brought in over $50 million in tax revenue and Washington about $70 million, so it looks like Oregon is going to do just fine. In fact probably even better since we’ve been able to learn from their mistakes and make an even more efficient system.

I will get off my soapbox though. Marijuana is now available to all Oregon adults for both medical and recreational purposes, it can be purchased at all dispensaries. It can be carried back and forth from Washington state where it is also legal. People who visit Oregon from further away may purchase the flower but they are prohibited from carrying it to or through states that have not yet legalized the plant. Missouri, Michigan, Massachusetts, California, Arizona, Maine and Nevada are all going to have marijuana on their 2016 ballots to some degree or another.

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