Advocates for legal marijuana say there’s a big loophole in the current Oregon law: while it is legal to consume under certain guidelines, the law doesn’t create a place where people can legally and safely do that.
That’s why the co-founders of a Portland coalition, along with Oregon Sen. Lew Frederick, want to pass legislation to create “common consumption spaces” for cannabis.
“We’ve been fighting for the same rights that brewers and wineries have had for a long time,” Sam Chapman, co-founder of the New Revenue Coalition, said.
Chapman said there are several models for how this could work, including legalizing consumption at farm tours, creating new stand-alone cafes, or even separate spaces at licensed retailers.
He said it would open up tourism dollars, expand business opportunities and give consumers more equity–particularly when it comes to people who rent.
“If you’ve ever read the details of your lease agreement, chances are there’s a no-smoking clause in there,” he said. “And that really disproportionately affects people who don’t own their homes, people of lower economic status and people of color.”
Sen. Lew Frederick said he plans to introduce a bill to create “common consumption” spaces when the next legislative session begins in January.
If it doesn’t pass, advocates say they’re prepared to take it to the ballot in 2020.
“This is an industry that is an industry in Oregon, and trying to ignore it or say we’re going to backtrack on things doesn’t work,” Sen. Frederick said. “We have people coming to the state to tour marijuana sites in the same way they’re touring vineyards at this point. We’ve got to recognize that’s where we are and work with it.”
Both Chapman and Sen. Frederick acknowledge there are some reservations in the public health sector, particularly when it comes to second-hand marijuana smoke and also continuing to protect children from exposure. They are issues both sides need to resolve if a bill is to move forward.
“To be clear, we are not advocating for any type of public consumption,” Chapman said. “This would be what we call common cannabis consumption, it would be in private, it would be out of view of the public. It would allow people to have additional options other than their car or a park or a sidewalk, which is where the majority of cannabis consumption is happening now.”There is a launch party Wednesday at 6:00 p.m at Tillamook Station in north Portland. Members of the public are encouraged to attend and share feedback.
You can learn more about the idea or get tickets here: https://nrclaunchparty.eventbrite.com/.Copyright 2018 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.