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In two weeks, it'll be legal for anyone 21 and older to possess and grow marijuana in Oregon. But before you light up, the state wants you to know a few things.
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First, you won't be able to legally buy cannabis in Oregon on July 1. The state's 300 dispensaries cater only to medical marijuana patients, not recreational consumers. And regulated recreational shops aren't expected to open until late 2016.
If you're thinking of heading north to buy cannabis from a regulated shop in Washington and returning home with some pre-rolled joints, Oregon says not so fast. Taking marijuana across the border – even one joining two marijuana-friendly states – remains illegal.
The state's advice? Rely on the generosity of friends who can share or give away – but not sell – cannabis.
State officials acknowledge that telling Oregonians not to travel to Washington to buy legal cannabis is a tough sell.
"I think that for a lot of people, that doesn't pass the common sense test," said Tom Towslee, spokesman for the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, which will oversee the state's regulated marijuana industry.
Towslee said discouraging people from taking marijuana across state lines is in keeping with a 2013 memo issued by the federal government. That memo, written by Deputy U.S. Attorney General James Cole, spelled out law enforcement priorities on marijuana, which include preventing black market diversion.
"The more we can do to be consistent with the Cole memorandum, the more ability we are going to have to run our own (marijuana) program without interference from the federal government," said Towslee.
The OLCC isn't charged with enforcing rules around personal possession and home cultivation, but Towslee said agency officials felt it was important to tell the public about the basics of the new law. How the law is enforced, he said, is up to local police.
The campaign was designed by the Metropolitan Group and targets people between the ages of 18 and 35. Kiernan Doherty, executive vice president of the agency, said it will rely heavily on social media to spread the word.
"We wanted the whole tone of the campaign to be really friendly and really approachable and not overly authoritative," she said.
Towslee said the OLCC aimed for a "non judgmental" and straightforward approach.
"We are not going to get into the benefits or the evils of marijuana," he said. "We just want people to know what they can and can't do under the law. It's as simple as that."

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