September 26, 2018, Oregon
Legalization of cannabis doesn’t always address all the loopholes of the law. In many states where buying, growing and possessing cannabis is legal, it is still illegal to consume the strain in some instances. Cannabis activists in Oregon have taken up this issue. They have made a political action committee that is striving to legalize public consumption. They are calling it a matter of social justice and want to change the legislation around it.
Angela Bacca of NORML’s Oregon chapter is spearheading the campaign along with other notable cannabis activists of the state. They are lobbying among state legislators for introducing pertinent bills in the state assembly. Cannabis activists want three public consumption related provisions to be part of the supposed legislative drafts.
- Allowing stand-alone marijuana lounges
- Permitting retail cannabis stores to have testing/consumption spots at their locations
- Provisional licensing to allow cannabis consumption at public and social events
- Carving up space for unique business opportunities such as cannabis spas
According to Bacca, their initiative has succeeded in garnering the support of three House Representatives and a Senator so far. This means both arms of the legislature will have their own bills that can be merged later into a law. Bacca and his fellow cannabis activists are determined to make public cannabis consumption a reality. If they fail to make any progress in the state legislature, they are all prepared to go for the public ballot on the issue.
Indoor Clean Air Act: Another obstacle
Besides categorical prohibition of public consumption, the Indoor Clean Air Act (ICAA) also comes into play for putting up obstacles for cannabis lounges. For instance, a famous cannabis lounge in Portland had to be shut down due to ICAA. The clean air act is in effect in several states, which majorly prohibits indoor cigarettes smoking in public spaces. At the time legalization became part of Oregon’s law, some lawmakers added cannabinoid consumption to the local version of ICAA. Activists are also hoping to get that provision reversed.
Why opening public consumption is important?
There is a perception that public cannabis consumption spaces are just an additional amenity. However, that’s not the case. There are many users living in federal housing schemes and rentals where it is not legal to consume cannabis.
Whether they are smoking inside or going on streets, all such consumers are breaking the law in one way or the other. Similarly, many users with children don’t want to smoke in front of them. They also need some public space to consume the strain. Lastly, the tourists visiting the state can purchase the strain but can’t consume it legally. They also look for cannabis cafes and lounges.
While serving the citizens, allowing cannabis lounges will also give the state another avenue to collect taxes. The tourism can also get a much-needed boost with cannabis cafes around. We all know that one of Amsterdam’s major tourist attractions is its cannabis cafes.
Marijuana stays in the news, and Alice is always ready to keep us updated. A world traveler and lover of freedom, Alice knows what is going on, no matter where she roams. She specializes in marijuana legalization stories across the globe, with up to date... [read more]