8 Things to Know About the Newly Legal Pot Spots

By Noah Kaufman |

© Paul Treacy / Alamy

Americans voted for many things yesterday, and in some states the cry was, “Yes, we are OK with pot.” Or maybe they mumbled between bites of their nachos. The point is, we heard their voices.

Measures allowing recreational marijuana passed in Oregon, Alaska and Washington, DC. Florida saw its medical marijuana referendum go down to defeat, but that’s only because it required a 60 percent majority for passage. The referendum still received majority support.

The votes in all four places reflect the growing acceptance of marijuana for both medical treatment and recreation. In the past three years support for outright legal weed has gone from below 50 percent to almost 60 percent. And people have started to capitalize on that in all sorts of creative ways.

As we wait to see what sorts of new pot ideas come out of Portland, DC and the wilds of the great frozen north, here are some things to know if you live in or plan to smoke in Oregon, Alaska or DC.

Can you light up now?

Oregon: No. The law goes into effect July 1, 2015.

Alaska: No. The law goes into effect 90 days after the election is certified, which might not be for weeks.

DC: No. It still has to be certified by the DC government, which should not be a problem, but because of its special status, laws in DC have to go through review by congress, which may not approve of it at all.

How much can I have?

Oregon: Starting in July you can have one ounce (which, depending on who you ask is roughly 28 joints) in public or eight ounces at home.

Alaska: Once the law is in effect you can have one ounce or six plants in your home.

DC: Assuming it all passes, you’ll be able to have two ounces on your person.

Where can I use it?

In all three places, you have to use it in private. No parks, no buses, no bars. You have to smoke in your home, someone else’s home or establishments licensed to handle your business, or you’ll risk being fined.

What if I want to visit these places just to smoke?

That’s OK. If you happen to be the sort of person more concerned with Bubblegum Haze than the majestic mountains of Denali or the history of the Smithsonian you can show up, smoke and leave. Just don’t take anything with you. Transporting pot across state lines is still very much illegal. 

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