Recreational Marijuana Becomes Legal Today In Oregon — But Residents Can’t Actually Buy It Yet

Oregonians across the state are grabbing their beloved bongs and reaching for the rolling papers today, as the state’s law allowing recreational marijuana use officially went into effect at midnight. But as with any marijuana law, there are some considerations before residents start lighting up — including the fact that they can’t legally buy recreational pot anywhere just yet.

Reuters reports that a crowd of hundreds of ganja fans gathered last night on Burnside Bridge in downtown Portland, counting down the minutes until midnight and then lighting up together to mark the moment the law allowing recreational use for adults 21 and over went into place.

Although there were no arrests reported at that event, under Oregon’s law, smoking marijuana in public is not permitted. And while you can share or give away any marijuana you might have, it’s still illegal to buy it or sell it until licensed retail shops open.

Therein lies the rub: CNNMoney (warning: link has video that auto-plays) cites the Portland chapter of NORML, a pro-legalization group, which estimates that the first state-licensed shops won’t open up until at least mid-2016.

In the meantime, you can keep up to four plants per residence, as long as they’re out of public view, so home gardening could be the only legal way to get your weed until those shops open. Unless you have very generous friends, of course.

Driving while high also remains illegal, and the law prohibits anyone from transporting pot out of state. Yes, even to Washington, where marijuana is legal, because using the stuff is still illegal in the eyes of the federal government.

If infographics are your thing, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission published a guide called “What’s legal? Educate before you recreate,” to school citizens on what’s legal and what isn’t.

Recreational marijuana is also legal in Colorado, Alaska, Washington and the District of Columbia, while Ohio could be the next up to legalize it. Medical weed is allowed in about 20 states.