I can grow my own pot, right?

UNDER STATE LAW, yes. Under federal law, no. Note also that here in Oregon, the rules differ for medical and recreational users. Medical marijuana users are defined as individuals who suffer from a qualifying condition and who have received a medical marijuana card upon “recommendation” (not prescription) from an attending physician. The list of qualifying conditions is a real parade of horribles, but any form of “severe pain” should suffice to acquire a card.

Medical patients can grow up to six plants and enlist other registered persons to grow cannabis on their behalf. As to recreational users, those adults may grow up to four plants in one residence. Note that the limit is on the residence, not the person. This means that you and your five roommates get four plants total. Please also note that you must keep those four plants out of public view (no weed in porch pots, on the boulevard, etc.), and once you harvest, you can possess up to eight ounces of usable weed at your place.

Oregon’s home-grow program stacks up rather nicely against other states with legalized recreational cannabis. In Washington, for example, medical patients can grow without a license, but nobody else can. In Colorado, six plants are allowed, but only three of them may be flowering. Alaska goes big on most things, so those hondos can grow six immature and six mature plants. Come November, it looks like California will allow six homegrown plants, assuming its ballot measure passes and the legislature doesn’t mess around with things.

It is often said that Oregon’s homebrewing culture has something to do with the homegrown cannabis rules in our state. As with beer makers, pot growers can now experiment with a controlled substance at home and develop custom varieties. With beer and recreational weed, this is all pretty fun, but it can also be truly important for medical cannabis patients, many of whom have arrived at strain combinations that suit them especially well.

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Despite the endorsement of Oregon law, please note that you could still get into trouble for growing even a tiny bit of weed. This is due to federal prohibition, and the fact that the federal government can enforce its half-baked laws on the issue—even if that feels like a remote possibility with respect to your four plants. Medical marijuana cardholders have less risk, however: Due to Congressional frugality and a few commendable court rulings, federal action against state-compliant patients is disapproved, at present.

Finally, if you are very risk-averse, or you wish to support schools and police by paying the pot tax, or if you are too lazy to grow your own weed, or bad at it, or have an oppressive lease, or simply wish to leave it to the pros, you can always walk down to the store. Growing your own weed is just one option here in Oregon.