July 1st marks the day when Oregon becomes the latest state to legalize recreational marijuana. From today henceforth, pot users can share marijuana but cannot buy or sell it until retail shops open in the next year. According to Portland chapter of NORML, a pro-legalization organization, the first state-licensed retailers will approximately go online in the mid-2016.
Pot advocates flocked on the Burnside Bridge to welcome the new law. Hundreds of people took to the sidewalk on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning spilling and blocking different lanes all night. It was noisy and full of life as pot advocates openly smoked and shared marijuana as they celebrated the new law. “I feel free,” a man blurted seconds after fireworks erupted during midnight.
Legalizing recreational marijuana means that one can possess and use it if they are 21 years or older. The law states that one can own up to 8 ounces in their house and grow up to four plants. Oregon residents can also carry the pot outside their homes but are not allowed to smoke it in public.
The fight against marijuana still heats up with activists and opposition pushing a bill to ban marijuana retail in municipalities where more than 55 percent of voters opposed November’s ballot action. McGalla is seeing more and more of this issue popping up. The executive director of Portland NORML and also a renowned activist, Russ Belville alleged that among other effects, people may lose their jobs for smoking marijuana as a serious problem. Republican state Senator Ted Ferrioli said, “nervousness about marijuana sort of becoming normed in our society is widespread.”