PORTLAND -- Now that marijuana is legal for recreational use in Washington, Portland police have put together a guide that answers questions Oregonians might have about interstate use and possession.
One such question, according to Sgt. Pete Simpson: Can I ride my bike to Washington to smoke some weed?
His answer: Yes, but you can still get a DUII-Drugs while riding a bicycle.
As of Thursday morning, it is no longer a violation of Washington state law for people 21 and over to possess up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use. People can also possess up to 16 ounces of marijuana-infused solids, such as baked goods and candies, or 72 ounces of infused liquids, like cooking oils.
The state has one year to come up with the rules and licensing procedures for the growing and selling marijuana. Oregon law regarding marijuana possession, distribution and manufacturing has not changed.
But in Oregon possessing up to an ounce is a violation, not a criminal offense.
People cannot be arrested or jailed for possession of less than one ounce of marijuana, Simpson said. That has been a low law enforcement priority for 35 years in Portland and this will not change.
Simpson clarified that driving under the influence of marijuana is a high priority offense, which raises several more questions about detecting and proving DUII-marijuana offenses:
What happens if I get pulled over and an officer thinks I've been smoking pot?
- Simpson says: The officer will conduct a field sobriety test and may consult with a drug recognition expert. If officers establish probable cause, they will bring you to a precinct and ask your permission to draw your blood for testing. If officers have reason to believe you're under the influence of a controlled substance, they can get a search warrant for a blood draw from a judge.
The threshold for DUII-alcohol is generally when a driver's blood alcohol content is .08 or more; What's the threshold for marijuana or other drugs?
- The threshold for DUII-Drugs is 'impaired to a perceptible degree.'
I want to go to Washington and get high. What's the safest way to do it?
- Get a designated driver, take public transit, or plan to stay the night in Washington.
Can I bring marijuana into Oregon from Washington if I have a medical marijuana card?
- Yes. The Oregon Medical Marijuana Program allows for card holders to possess certain amounts of marijuana. It does not dictate where card-holders can get it and there are no changes to the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program because of Washington I-502.
I live in Washington but drove to Portland to visit friends. Can I carry my marijuana with me?
- No. Possession of Less than One Ounce of Marijuana in Oregon is a violation and you may be subject to a citation, similar to a traffic ticket.
Simpson said that you will not get a violation for being stoned unless you are operating a vehicle (including a bicycle).
He added that while Portland police do not prioritize enforcing the citations of less than an ounce of pot, smoking it in public spaces is prohibited, and that law is strictly enforced. If you must consume pot, then do so in the privacy of a residence, he said.
And he said if Oregon law enforcement officers suspect that a driver in a serious injury crash is impaired by drugs or alcohol, officers will apply for a search warrant to draw and test that driver's blood.
Marijuana is still a Schedule I Drug under federal law, and its possession and sale remain illegal under federal law.
The Portland Police Bureau cannot predict or control the enforcement activities of federal authorities, Simpson said.
Seattle police: Marijwhatnow? A Guide to Legal Marijuana Use in Seattle