You may be thinking, “duh!”
But yes, finally, the city of Portland is joining the fight for social consumption.
Stating that regulated cannabis social clubs would boost tourism, the City of Roses has joined lobbying efforts with cannabis businesses in support of Senate Bill 307 that would allow cannabis consumption at licensed lounges. The consumption guidelines would be similar to the current legal framework for tobacco smoking patios.
Presently, it is illegal to consume cannabis publicly in Oregon. This means no consuming in the park, on the beach, walking on a sidewalk, in a hotel room, even in a rented house (unless you live under the small minority of landlords who permit cannabis smoke on their rental properties). If it is not completely private property, there’s no cannabis consumption allowed.
This presents quite a dilemma for tourists coming to Oregon for their new legal pot-buying experience. Adults can purchase cannabis legally, yet they must consume said cannabis illegally (unless they are the rare tourist who knows a homeowner in Portland). Opening the door for regulating cannabis social clubs would give tourists a place to consume their cannabis safely and legally.
Cannabis social clubs would also act as just that, a social environment for cannabis lovers to unite. While it is legal to buy cannabis, forcing people to sneak around in order to consume the cannabis defeats the empowered freedom embedded in legalization.
Senate Bill 307 would issue licenses only in Oregon cities or counties that pass ordinances allowing social clubs.
Proponents of SB 307 include Mayor Ted Wheeler who said, “The same way as Oregon and our city celebrate our craft beer and wine industry, Portland welcomes and wants to provide opportunities for our emerging craft cannabis industry.” The Oregon Craft Beer industry brought in $4.49 billion to contribute to the statewide economy while the craft Wine industry in Oregon has an economic impact of $3.35 billion. The cannabis industry is on track to compete with these numbers which will generate more jobs for Oregonians and dramatically stimulate local economies.
However, opponents of the bill are concerned about air quality, the dangers of secondhand smoke, and the message cannabis social clubs would send to Oregon’s children. “Our concern is that the normalization of smoking when it is allowed in public, erodes the decades of work that we’ve done in public health to roll back the social norms around tobacco and smoking products,” argues Jennifer Vines, deputy health director for Multnomah County.
While cannabis social clubs may have a few kinks to work out, the safety it would bring to cannabis consumers is important for the consumers themselves and the surrounding community.
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