[Editor’s Note: Oregon will see an increase in canna-tourism. Creating safe spaces for social cannabis consumption is an important facet of regulating cannabis like alcohol.]
SALEM, Ore. – A state Senate committee will hold a hearing at the end of the month on legislation that would allow cannabis lounges where marijuana could legally be consumed.
The proposal would also allow marijuana producers to offer tours to the public.
Oregonians voted in 2014 to legalize cannabis for recreational use. But the drug is not allowed to be used in public under existing legislation. Senate Bill 639 is sponsored by state Senator Floyd Prozanski of Eugene, along with state senators Lew Frederick of Portland and Elizabeth Steiner Hayward of Beaverton/Northwest Portland.
SB 638 Cannabis Lounge by on Scribd
If enacted, the bill would allow for consumption and sale of marijuana at temporary events, as well as licensure and regulation of cannabis lounges. The bill would also allow marijuana producers to offer tours to the public. Cannabis lounges and temporary events could not be within 1,000 feet of a schools. But the law would allow “smoking of marijuana and the aerosolizing or vaporizing of a substance that contains cannabinoids” in designated areas at licensed locations.
The Senate Committee On Business and General Government has scheduled a hearing on the bill for 8 a.m. on Thursday, February 28. Online government records show some written testimony has already been received on the matter.
“Consumption of cannabis in public is illegal, yet tourists and patients and adults that rent rather than own their homes have the right to purchase and possess cannabis but no space they can legally consume,” Michael Bachara with Oregon NORML writes. “In the end, social consumption lounges would also attract more tourists to Oregon and allow for promotion of our local craft producers.”
Angela Bacca submitted written testimony describing her challenges as a medical marijuana user who rents an apartment.
“I am not technically allowed to consume at home nor am I allowed to consume it on a public street corner,” she wrote. “Unfortunately the benefits of legalization have gone mostly to business and not towards social justice and consumer rights. I have the right to buy it, pay tax on it and possess it (when I am not home of course) but I basically don’t have the right to consume anywhere.”