The Columbian / Associated Press

Oregon marijuana ads flourish on Craigslist

It started with making marijuana products at home for herself and her husband. Then, she thought, “People might buy these.”

The woman, who lives in Keizer, figured she could make money off a medical marijuana-filled, holiday-themed gift box.

The gift box had pot-infused body butter (“to rub on achy muscles”), massage oil (“perfect for the bedroom”), a 4-by-5 inch Rice Krispie edible and other treats. She makes it all herself and is proud of the body butter. She said it helped her mom’s foot arthritis.

The box costs $100. “I just thought it’d be a fun thing for Christmas,” she said.

She posted an ad for the pack, as many have done for marijuana in Oregon, through the online bazaar Craigslist.

As Oregon growers, processors and dispensaries in the legal cannabis business navigate state regulations and shortages on the marketplace, some people are looking to the online shopping website as an outlet for moving their pot.

Craigslist ads for marijuana are flourishing in the state, whether barterers want to trade for money or goods.

Here’s a sample of posts the Statesman Journal found on the website: The holiday basket. Half an ounce of buds for $40 of groceries in Estacada. And in one instance, a Lebanon Craigslist user writes they will trade “a few ounces of marijuana” for three Hatchimal toys, which have been highly coveted this holiday season.

That user, who did not give their name, said in an email the toys were for their kids.

“I don’t think it should be illegal to barter marijuana now that it’s legal,” the user said. “I mean that’s the same as saying people that have a hunting (license) can’t trade or sell some of their meat to people for something they need or want.”

Even though Oregon has legalized marijuana, selling it online is against the law.

Case in point: Oregon State Police cited Jason Owen, of Sandy, after he tried to trade 1 pound of marijuana for a snowmobile in October.

A state trooper owned the rig and met with Owen after consulting other law enforcement officials. Police cited the 29-year-old for possession and delivery of marijuana. In his vehicle, Owen had 1 1/2 pounds of marijuana.

“Marijuana sales need to occur at an approved dispensary per statute,” said Cpt. Bill Fugate, a spokesman for the State Police. That means the Oregon Liquor Control Commission or Oregon Health Authority has to approve the dispensary.

Oregon law enforcement officials call for relaxed drug-possession punishments

In September, the Oregon Association Chiefs of Police and the Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association called for “a more thoughtful approach to drug possession when it is the only crime committed.”

The associations said there should be more treatment options for drug possession-related crimes, and there should be fewer felony charges handed out; they should be treated as misdemeanors.

Paige Clarkson, trial team leader for the Marion County Attorney’s Office drug team, said she didn’t know of any investigations on Craigslist marijuana sales. She said there would have to be an investigation before the District Attorney’s office would give a response.

Online pot: It’s not like selling a sweater on Etsy

Under Oregon law, it’s legal for people 21 years of age or older to possess up to a certain amount of recreational pot. But that doesn’t mean they can peddle it online like a knitted sweater.

“No, you can’t sell marijuana on Craigslist,” said Mark Pettinger, a spokesperson for the OLCC, which regulates recreational sales.

In fact, even Craigslist rules don’t allow the sale of “prescription drugs, medical devices; controlled substances and related items,” or “any good, service, or content that violates the law or legal rights of others.”

Pettinger said you can gift marijuana, but there can’t be money involved. The commission has said that asking for “donations” is also prohibited, though that appears to be a popular tack with some Craigslist users.

For carded medical marijuana users, the rules are a little different but still strict.

The state allows transfer of medical marijuana between carded patients and other specific entities. The path of transfer for medical marijuana is “highly regulated” and “explicitly defined,” said Chris Westfall, the compliance unit manager with the Oregon Health Authority.

“This is not like selling your used, out-of-date furniture,” he said.

One patient can exchange their products with another patient “for no financial consideration,” according to a Health Authority document provided by Westfall.

When shown the ad for the holiday gift box, Westfall said: “The example your link points to is certainly not by someone registered with (the Oregon medical marijuana program) as a processor or a dispensary.

“None of the items displayed are properly labeled or tested, and, by the image and the narrative explanation of one Krispy being sufficient for multiple people, they would exceed the concentration limits,” he said.

The seller said she has made some $150 on her products so far.

Asked if she knew about the rules around selling marijuana on Craigslist, she said: “Yeah, I know it’s kind of a gray area.”