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Oregon’s Recreational Marijuana Law: Information & Resources for DHS EmployeesJuly 01, 2015
To: All DHS Staff
Message from DHS Human Resources Director Becky Daniels


With the passage of Measure 91 last year, recreational marijuana became legal at midnight on June 30, 2015. The new law allows Oregonians who are 21 and older to grow limited amounts of marijuana on their property and to possess limited amounts of recreational marijuana for personal use.

However, we want to emphasize that Measure 91’s approval does not change DHS nor the state of Oregon’s requirement of a drug-free workplace. DHS policy, state law and federal law do not allow the possession, distribution or use of marijuana (in any form) at work, on state property or in state vehicles.

DHS continues to comply with the federal Drug-free Workplace Act of 1988. Violation of the policy can result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination, in accordance with applicable collective bargaining agreements. If you have any questions, please contact your supervisor or Human Resources representative.

We understand the confusion about what will be and what will not be legal after July 1, and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) has launched a website to answer the basic questions. You can go to www.whatslegaloregon.com for more information.

Thank you for your continued cooperation in maintaining a safe, secure workplace for everyone.

-- Becky

>> Here’s the information the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) sent to us yesterday, there is also a FAQ.

RE: Guidance for Agencies Regarding Marijuana Use on State Property by Members of the Public

As the July 1, 2015, legalization of recreational marijuana under Measure 91 (2014) approaches, we continue to receive inquiries into when law enforcement needs to be notified about violations of the law. In general, we are recommending that education of citizens is the first and highest priority in the early days of legalization.  Please refer to OLCC’s website: www.whatslegaloregon.com for information on their “Educate Before You Recreate” program.  The “SHARE” link on the page has printable posters and cards that state employees can hand out in the event an individual asks if they can use or is observed using marijuana in any form on state grounds. 

Please direct staff to rely upon these materials and the frequently asked questions, to ensure all state agencies are communicating a consistent and accurate message regarding recreational marijuana use.  If an individual claims that their use in public is allowed because they possess a medical marijuana card, staff can inform them that medical marijuana use is not allowed in public citing ORS 475.316.

Measure 91 prohibits any use of marijuana in a “public place,” defined as “a place to which the general public has access and includes, but is not limited to, hallways, lobbies, and other parts of apartment houses and hotels not constituting rooms or apartments designed for actual residence, and highways, streets, schools, places of amusement, park, playgrounds, and premises used in connection with public passenger transportation.” 

If your state agency has property in a county or city that chooses to “opt out” of either the medical or recreational systems, please know that opt out only applies to marijuana-related business and does not affect the ability of individuals to grown their own marijuana or use marijuana in counties or cities covered by a local opt out.

The penalty for use of marijuana in public is a Class B violation—essentially a traffic ticket.  Possession of large amounts of marijuana and delivery of marijuana for consideration (except for retail stores when they begin sales) remain crimes.  It is never okay for minors to possess or use marijuana, and crimes involving children are of greatest concern.

Ultimately, the decision on whether or not to engage law enforcement will come down to a judgment call by the state employee dealing with the issue, balancing both the appropriate use of law enforcement resources with the need to ensure public safety on state grounds.  If you are within a city or county that has separate agreements with local law enforcement, you are encouraged to have a dialogue with them directly.




See all 2015 Director's Messages

Also see: 2014, 2013