As legal reforms on marijuana continue to sweep the nation from west to east, Oregon celebrated their own recreational freedoms in July when the voter-approved legalization officially took effect.
In true Portland style, crowds gathered at midnight to light up near the Burnside Bridge in downtown as the clock struck twelve. This growing movement of legalization has been spreading rapidly in the past few years and isn’t expected to slow any time soon as east coast and midwestern states begin to put it on the ballot for their citizens to decide.
In Oregon, the language of the new law permits recreational use of marijuana for individuals much the same way alcohol is permitted. Adults age 21 and over can smoke privately in their own homes and grow up to 4 of their own plants. Shops are not permitted to sell marijuana openly just yet but that’s expected to change in the next year as legislators continue to debate the finer points of the commercial side of cannabis, from taxes and licenses to carry limits and all the rest.
With the expectation of legal commerce as early as summer 2016, potential retailers are taking to distributing free samples of their premium product to get the word and brand name out there on the lips of Oregon pot fans, while staying within the law.
While the new law doesn’t set well with everyone, many people are surprised that it’s not much different than having alcohol use at the bars down the street. It’s still illegal to drive while under the influence and you can’t light up on a public sidewalk (except for the little rule-bending on the bridge in July).
Only time will tell what impact this 'legal weed' reform has on the communities of Portland and surrounding towns but the response has been overwhelmingly positive from residents who consider the prohibition laws of the 1970s to be draconian and outdated for modern times. As the world adjust its view of drugs like cannabis, at least from a criminalization side, it will be interesting to see where other drugs like psychedelics and narcotics fall into this discussion.
The reality of addiction hasn’t changed, just the way we handle drug possession and distribution from a legal sense. If tobacco and alcohol can run rampant in the streets, there’s no reason cannabis should be restricted, right?
How do you feel about marijuana legalization?