Is Marijuana Legal in Oregon?



Yes it is. My first experience buying cannabis at a recreational marijuana dispensary in Portland, Oregon USA.

A great day for recreation

A clear and bright day in Portland. A boat or two sail past a glass skyscraper on the Willamette river. The sun reflects a shimmering waveform against the surface of the river water. Blues and Greens and Browns dominate the color spectrum before me. A perfect scene of life and movement and sound.

An early morning yawn with outstretched arms and then a thought: how beautiful the scene is before me.

dwyan alford looking out on balcony in portland oregon

Dwyan checking out the view in Portland, Oregon (by

The People Have Spoken: Measure 91

Disclaimer: I will use the words cannabis and marijuana interchangeably. They are the same thing. Terms like pot and weed and marijuana are evolved slang terms for the actual name of the plant Cannabis sativa L or cannabis.

In 2014 Oregon became the 5th state in the US to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Measure 91, the third attempt, passed by approximately 56% to 44%. Oregon had previously been the first state to decriminalize possession of marijuana in 1973. Sales topped $11 million in the first week that recreational marijuana was legally available for sale. Beating out Washington State and Colorado combined, in their first week – the first two states to legalize cannabis for recreational use.

cannabis on display in a Portland Oregon recreational dispensary

Image from Recreational Marijuana Legalization, 2014

Oregon is serious about cannabis. It was one of the first three states to legalize cannabis for medical use back in 1998. Today there are approximately 300 medical and recreational dispensaries in Oregon.

Measure 91 allows Oregonians 21 and older to:

• Grow up to 4 plants on their property.
• Possess up to 8 ounces of usable cannabis in their homes.
• Carry up to 1 ounce on their person outside of their home.

Cannabis cannot be smoked or consumed in public or within unaided public view. Taking cannabis across state lines is a federal offense subject to enforcement action.

Resource: City of Portland Cannabis Policy FAQs

Farma – Portland, Oregon

All dispensaries are not necessarily equal, but I thought I was a marijuana connoisseur, a veteran…maybe not… because the Farma sales staff have taken the customer experience to a whole other level. If you want a glimpse into the future of customer service, look no further than this establishment located on Hawthorne Boulevard in South East Portland.

farma recreational dispensary exterior shot 2018 portland oregon

Farma – street front view. Portland, Oregon (by

As I entered the front entrance, I got a sense that I was at a somewhat stylish and unusual pharmacy; white walls and furniture, clipboards, pens, forms and business cards. A young man with a big smile greeted me, and promptly asked for my identification. “Thank you very much,” he continued, “Okay we only accept cash and there is an ATM inside, you are welcome to go in now.” I entered another door into a little cute oasis of luxurious weed heaven.

The establishment was a cross between a stylish doctor’s office and a jewelry store for hippies. Two chairs and a small charming table to one side and a pint sized unassuming ATM next to it. Very convenient in case I forgot to get that cash before I came. I did. In front of me was a cannabis display like no other I had seen before.

Farma dispensary interior view portland oregon

courtesy of Farma

Purple Punch

24 different strain varieties of marijuana laid out in a sleek jewelry-type display unit, each sample elegantly presented, labeled, showing mainly its THC and CBD content, a color code and its price per gram in US dollars. Strains with names like Honey Badger HazeLemon BettyCBD Skunk HazeChocolate Mint OGDeath StarIrish CreamPurple Punch and Tiger Berry to name a few.

purple punch cannabis strain sold at Farma dispensary

An angelic-like being, calm, tattooed, in casual clothing, humbly asks: “How can I help you today?

My cannabis re-education

I considered myself a marijuana veteran, smoking and eating it for over 20 years. This experience was completely different. Up until now I either purchased my marijuana from someone I knew in secret or happily stumbled upon some marijuana at some friendly bash. In both these situations I was usually presented with only one choice of cannabis. Take it or leave it. It was therefore so eye-opening to witness a seller so eloquently explain the value of their products, with such passion and knowledge.

I felt like I was in a restaurant and the waiter was reciting out the daily specials. By the time he finishes and starts another special dish, I had already forgotten what he had said before.

Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the two most prominent cannabinoids found in Cannabis. CBD is non-psychoactive and won’t make you feel high. THC is psychoactive and will make you feel high.

Both cannabinoids offer therapeutic and medicinal benefits. But CBD offers them without psychoactive side effects. For that reason, CBD is ideal for patients who do not desire the effects of THC or who cannot as safely consume THC, like children. Benefits include; reducing inflammation, blocking pain receptors, protecting cells, stopping the production of cancer cells, shrinking tumors. An effective treatment for epilepsy, seizures, arthritis and many other conditions.

We have 24 options and each display you see repeats itself.” There were display cards next to each sample with a color code in the top left corner. “The blue means a high CBD content and a low THC content. These are used primarily for pain management and nausea. The darker red were the ‘pick-me-ups’ and the light red were the ‘put me downs’ as they had lower CBD and higher THC.

Each strain served a purpose. It was time to decide what to buy. I could buy as low as 1 gram of the strains costing between $9 – $13 dollars.


wo cannabis strains from farma dispensary in portland, Oregon

Approximate weight shown here is 0.5 grams each


This was good because it meant I could try 3 strains with different properties. I could purchase as much as 1 ounce. If the THC was too high then I could use another strain to calm and bring the high down somewhat. I had no idea you could do this. I chose 3 strains: Purple Punch (relaxing/calming), Harle Tsu (CBD Rich) and Super Silver Haze (focused/euphoric). The last thing I grabbed was a glass pipe for $6. There were other accessories like more pipe types, rolling papers, a few edibles, smoke pens and oils. Everything you could imagine getting at a cannabis store.

Time to pinch myself

Finally after leaving the dispensary and walking out to my car, I could not help but wonder if this was actually a real experience. Walking into a licensed store and buying marijuana. No medical card or prescription needed. Just my driver’s license, Wow! I had to look around and see if any police officers were about to jump on me. But nothing. No need to be paranoid anymore.

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24 Replies to “Is Marijuana Legal in Oregon?”

  1. Cathy says:

    This was a wonderful review taken from a first person(you) account. It was also educational as to just how the cannabis market has evolved in the past few years. There are just so many health benefits that are available to us now with the surge of acceptance. Very good over all presentation

  2. shalisha says:

    Fantastic post. Oh boy! You are one lucky dude. Thanks for the THC breakdown. How about Kosher Kush or Ghost OG? Are they only allowed to serve lower strengths? Meaning, does Oregon have a cap on the THC level?

    • Dwyan Alford says:

      Hi there Shalisha, No cap on the THC. The only cap is the amount you are allowed to buy at a time which is 1 ounce. They have a wide variety of strengths to choose from. Some cannabis strains even help to calm the effect of another higher THC strain. This particular dispensary had no Kosher Kush or Ghost OG. Ha ha. But those sound really interesting. Thanks again.

  3. Fleur says:

    An interesting article I had no idea that there were both outlets for both medical and recreational purposes – delighted to hear it is an environment where you are informed before purchasing.

    • Dwyan Alford says:

      Hi Fleur. Medical dispensaries came first (since 1998 in Oregon) and then when marijuana was legal for recreational purposes, you then had the two. But most, if not all, the medical dispensaries are also recreational ones as well. Just a bigger market now so they would benefit more. Thanks.

  4. Andrew says:

    There were many things I ignored about cannabis, but now I have a better understanding of it and I am impressed to know there are so many variations. Marijuana has so many medicinal uses. Thanks for sharing this useful information!

    • Dwyan Alford says:

      Thanks Andrew. There is too much evidence of the medicinal benefits. I think the state of Oregon has put in place a very well regulated law that will ultimately benefit all parties including the state in the form of revenues.

  5. Tina says:

    Hi Dwyan! Funny enough I just walked past that place about a week ago. I’m living up in Vancouver across the way now but I still head into Portland to get my smoke. The prices are waaaay better and the quality is better too.

    When I first moved to a legal state I had the same kind of disbelief about it all. I fell to my knees when I walked into a shop in Seattle. It’s so trippy how it’s like going to a wine bar or a pharmacy. Now I pay less attention to the names. I just ask the clerk for their favorite or if they had to pick one that was great for smoking before yoga or if I’ve got pain which they’d suggest and they get me exactly what I need. I love this!

    I even had to ask my partner that once we moved here, would we miss the ole ‘chasing a dealer down’ game. I don’t.

    Thanks for the read! It was most enjoyable.

    • Dwyan Alford says:

      HA HA Tina what you said made me laugh! I agree with you on the pricing and quality of the product. Very trippy indeed. lol. I will not miss the “chasin’ a dealer down” game either!!!!

  6. Mitala says:

    Thanks for educating me about marijuana. Where I come from, it’s still illegal. But you guys are lucky to have it and use it lawfully. Congs

  7. Kahlua says:

    Great article and review of the dispensary!

    It’s crazy to think that you can buy marijuana from a store now. I remember sneaking around and finding low key meeting places with a dealer.

    I love how open people are about it and I truly believe the effects on medical conditions. It’s great now that it has been legalized in a few states so researchers can start doing research on how either CDB or THC affects different diseases. With that we are able to really expand our knowledge and treat diseases better.

    Thanks again,

  8. Viviana says:

    My subject of choice would be DING DING DING! lol, I recently went to Las Vegas where they also had a dispensary down there. I wish they would legalize it soon here in the state of Florida. As of right now, it is, I know it’s legal for medical purposes.

    Honestly, the Marijuana market will be probably booming if not booming very soon. Thanks for such a great article best of luck!

    • Dwyan Alford says:

      Hi Viviana. Thanks. It is booming in the states where it is legal. Colorado cannabis sales hit $1.5 Billion in 2017. The State of Colorado collected $250 million in revenue in taxes, licenses and fees. It is also well-regulated here and Portland. A doctor or anyone can not agree that cannabis is good in the treatment of cancer, pain and loss of appetite, and then deny people from having it. Thanks again!

  9. Alexis says:

    Great read, I’ve been looking into CBD as an Epileptic and I’ve asked two doctors about it but they don’t recommend it cause there wasn’t any study on it but I’m seriously considering it!

  10. Brianne says:


    I loved reading this article, as a Canadian, I am anxiously awaiting to see how things are going to play out when it is legalized here.
    I feel like I will be experiencing the same feeling as you, being used to getting what you get through a stranger or at a party. Having a choice will be odd for me, but a welcome relief knowing EXACTLY what I will be smoking.

  11. Benji says:

    I have to admit that I wasn’t expecting such a professional looking post when I clicked onto your site but you blew me away with your detailed and clinical discussion of such a hot topic! Your post was easy to read and answered all my questions.
    Do you think there will be a snowball effect as more and more states start to legalize it? And will this impact other countries or stay within the US?

    • Dwyan Alford says:

      Hi Benji, Yes there will be a snowball effect. It’s a very profitable business. Look at Canada. It may impact other countries in the long run. I think in the US it’s just a matter of time. Once other states see the income potential and a reduction in crimes associated with marijuana, they will follow suit. Thanks again.

  12. Matts Mom says:

    Great educational article. I grew up in Alaska where back in the 70s it was legal there. Not sure if Alaska was the first state to be legal or not. But I still learned a lot from this post. I buy CBD oil for my rescue dog. It really helps with his anxiety and stress, and also his upset stomach. There are so many great ways to use these products. Thanks for informing us all 🙂

    • Dwyan Alford says:

      Thanks Leahrae for your comment. Now I have to look into Alaska as I did not know that! LOL. Glad it was educational for you! Take care.

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