I wanted to take a few minutes to discuss some of the rules and regulations in the legal cannabis market in Oregon to give you the opportunity to broaden your knowledge of the industry. These rules can all be found on the OLCC for reference. However, I wanted to share them in a way that’s more interesting and better explained than on their site.
I’ll start off by explaining the basics of being a recreational customer as well as how the OMMP or Oregon Medical Marijuana Program works. Oregon used to only have a medical cannabis market which meant you had to go pay money to go through a doctor to be able to shop at dispensaries.
Because Oregon is now a recreational state, anyone 21 years of age or older can walk into any of the 600 dispensaries in Oregon to purchase products. The only thing you need is a valid ID and money. Most shops have an ATM, and some are even taking debit/credit cards nowadays. I have experienced a few shops that are unfortunately only doing online ordering/curbside pick up because of COVID which stinks, but I am happy they’re still selling weed at all!
Oregon offer’s a medical marijuana program which is great for a multitude of reasons. The first being that weed is expensive. When you have a medical card, you are excused from paying the 20% sales tax to the state when you make your purchases. Getting the medical card may cost a bit of money but it pays off quickly depending on how much you purchase. The OMMP also offers discounts to those who have SNAP, OHP, SSI, or have served in the military.
It’s usually around $100-$250 to make an appointment with a local alternative doctor who will give you the necessary paperwork to send to the state stating that you have a condition that you are approved to use cannabis to medicate. The doctor’s office will give you the paperwork to fill out and mail in addition to a money order where you pay your fees to the state. This is where the discount for veterans or those with SNAP, OHP, SSI can save money.
After you mail in the paperwork and money order, you just wait a week or two until your temporary card comes in, and then your permanent card will come soon after! It is just a perforated piece of paper rather than an actual card so I always laminate mine to keep it safe but you don’t have to do anything with it. The next step is to go to a dispensary of your choice with your new card and ID to buy some goodies! Everything you buy will be excused from the 20% tax that recreational customers have to pay to the state, and some shops even offer additional discounts or perks for OMMP patients!
Now that you know the difference between rec and med patients, let’s get started on the difference in rules. People who don’t have a medical card can purchase up to one ounce of cannabis. One ounce is 28 grams per day. Customers can choose to purchase all the same weed or different types to add up to an ounce. There is usually a better price for buying a larger amount so it wouldn’t be very cost-effective to buy 28 single grams, but there are other options.
The most common amounts are often weighed out at an eighth (1/8) which is 3.5 grams, a quarter (1/4) which is 7 grams, a half-ounce which is 14 grams, and a full ounce which is 28 grams.
The limit that medical patients can purchase is greater than those shopping as recreational patients in a few categories, but the same in others. When it comes to flower, medical patients can purchase up to 8 ounces in one day, whereas recreational patients can purchase one ounce per day. Medical patients cannot have more than 24 ounces in their possession at one time, whereas recreational shoppers can only have an ounce at a time. Also, medical patients can only purchase 32 ounces in one calendar month, which comes out to about an ounce a day. The limits for flower are reasonable in my opinion but I wouldn’t doubt that others may want higher limits.
A rule that is the same for both medical and recreational patients is that they can only purchase 5 grams of extracted or concentrated cannabis “at one time or within one day.” This means that dabs and cartridges have a combined limit of 5 total. When I was dabbing regularly this really frustrated me because I often wanted to buy more than 5 grams for myself when they were on sale, which usually only happens once a week. This is a good example of one of the regulations that are put in place by people who clearly don’t consume cannabis medicinally because otherwise, they would understand that some patients need to be able to purchase more than 5 grams at a time for a multitude of reasons.
When it comes to solid edibles (cookies, gummies, etc.) in the Oregon market, the legal limit is 50 mg of THC. This means that the entire package, one-piece or 10 pieces, can only contain 50 mg of THC total.
You can find edibles that contain 5 pieces total, which means that each piece is 10 mg. You can also find packages that contain 10 pieces, making each piece 5 mg. There are also other options besides those! One of my personal favorites are edibles that are one piece and contain 50 mg of THC total. These are great for ending a long day and really helping me relax to sleep well. I don’t recommend trying these for first-time users but for those who are looking to experience a lot of THC, they’re great ;’)
The limit that both medical and recreational patients can buy in “solid cannabinoid form” is 16 ounces. Every product is labeled with its weight for you (or a budtender) to be able to add up the amount you are purchasing which will ensure you do not go over the legal limit. The difference for medical patients when purchasing solid edibles is that one package is allowed to go up to 100 mg of THC instead of 50 mg. They can still purchase the same weight amount of 16 ounces, but the amount of cannabis in each product can be higher. Quite a few companies make edibles specific to medical patients which is great because they are often the same price or cheaper than the recreational ones while containing more THC. I believe that topical products are a part of the 16 ounces of “solid cannabis” because I couldn’t find a specific “topical cannabinoid” rule.
Did you notice that I specified “solid” edibles before? I thought this was strange at first but once I learned that the OLCC does have different rules for weed that you drink instead of eating, I wasn’t very surprised. Once again, this is what happens when people who don’t use or know much about something make rules about the subject.
Elixirs, syrups, tinctures, sodas, and juices are in a category of their own called “cannabinoids in liquid form.” The limit for these for both medical and recreational patients on these is 72 ounces. What’s strange about this category is that I’ve seen some of these products go all the way up to 2000 mg of THC. I couldn’t find any specific rules on the amount allowed per bottle which is probably why the products get so high; (there aren’t many rules about it) but if anyone knows more about this please shoot me a message or leave a comment below!
Allowing people to purchase up to 72 ounces of liquid cannabis but only one ounce of flower is ANOTHER good example of how the people that make the rules have little to no clue about what consumers actually want and need.
All that being said, the OLCC only tracks sales for those who are medical patients. There is not yet a way for them to track the purchases of recreational customers which means that someone could hypothetically go from shop to shop purchasing their max amount to end up with more than the limit for the day. Of course, this would be breaking the rules, but I wanted to make a point about how easy they are to break.
When it comes to seeds and plants, recreational patients can purchase and possess 4 marijuana plants and 10 seeds, while a medical patient can have up to 50 seeds and 6 plants if they are grown at an OLCC registered grow site.
Registering with the OMMP also excuses patients from paying the 20% tax on every product. When shopping online or at a dispensary I would highly recommend looking/asking to see if the prices they are advertising include tax or not. 20% is a big difference and really adds up when you purchase multiple products. Besides being able to purchase more flower than a recreational customer, I would say that the best part about having a medical card is the 20% savings. When you have a medical card you can also save your receipts and write off the amount you spent for taxes which is AWESOME.
Yes, it does cost money to physically get the card but the savings add up very quickly. You do not need an Oregon ID to get a medical marijuana card here; all you need is to see a doctor, pay some fees, and mail the paperwork. If you have Oregon health insurance, welfare, or are in the military, you can get a price reduction on the cost to join the OMMP program.
Anyone who joins the OMMP also has the option to add a “caregiver” to their account which gives another person the same access that you have as a medical patient to cannabis. They are technically purchasing the products “for you” as your caregiver which means you share the limit for the day, but you do have different card numbers. This is a great thing to sign your partner or significant other up for so that they can buy cannabis at the same discount you can, technically for you. It does not cost extra money.
You can also have a grower which means someone can grow cannabis for you which in theory would give you more access to it. I don't know a lot about this or think it's very popular now a days but it is an option!
There used to be medical dispensaries in Oregon which meant that only those a part of the OMMP program could shop at dispensaries, but as the market has expanded the dispensaries now allow anyone 21+ with a valid ID to shop.
I hope that you learned something and feel more empowered after reading this! I would love for you to leave any questions/comments/or new ideas you learned in the comment section below for myself and others to read! Thank you so much for taking the time to come to my site and read my post.
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