When Do Recreational Pot Laws in Ore., Alaska, D.C. Take Effect?

By Daniel Taylor, Esq. on January 02, 2015 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

For some, the biggest news out of this November's election was the legalization of recreational marijuana use in Oregon, Alaska, and Washington, D.C.

The two states and the District of Columbia are now set to join Colorado and Washington state -- which both passed recreational marijuana laws in 2012 -- in allowing both medical and recreational use of marijuana. But until the newly passed laws take effect, pot users may still run afoul of existing laws prohibiting marijuana use in these jurisdictions.

When do these new laws take effect?


Alaska's marijuana regulations making recreational use legal are set to take effect February 24. The new rules will allow Alaskans to possess and transport as much as 1 ounce of marijuana.

State officials are considering pushing back the deadline for finalizing the state's regulations regarding the new recreational marijuana industry, reports the Alaska Dispatch. But this deadline will have no effect on the initiative's rules allowing for the possession of marijuana by Alaska residents, including the ability to possess up to six marijuana plants.


In Oregon, recreational marijuana users will have to wait until July 1 to legally use and possess marijuana under the state's Measure 91. Under Oregon's law, individuals can possess up 1 ounce of marijuana in public, but up to 8 ounces of marijuana at home.

Washington, D.C.

The timeline for Washington, D.C.'s implementation of voter-approved Initiative 71 is somewhat less clear. The recently passed 2015 federal spending bill includes budgetary measures designed to block D.C.'s efforts to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.

According to The Washington Post, the District's new attorney general Karl Racine will seek to uphold the initiative. But if D.C. decides to move forward with the initiative despite Congress' budgetary veto, a court battle could ensue.

Find more information on the laws regarding marijuana in your state at FindLaw's section on State Marijuana Laws.

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