SB 307 Would Give Oregon Smoking Venues
A tourist goes into a recreational cannabis dispensary in Portland and buys a gram of Lemon Skunk. Later that day, she aims to hike up a trail in Forest Park she had read about online. She was advised by the attending budtender that this “premium” Lemon Skunk, a citrusy hybrid strain, would help her get up that trail with a little pep to her step. She purchases a small grab-and-go glass pipe along with the gram. The whole transaction costs her about thirty bucks. Before she walks out of the door, she remembers to ask, “Where can I smoke this?”
In Oregon, the answer to this question has remained murky. Public consumption is forbidden statewide. Should the budtender tell his customer to sneak a hit out in the woods? Of course not, that is illegal. The budtender is putting his boss’ reputation – and even the business license – in jeopardy by advising patrons to break the law. Should the budtender tell her to go out in her rental car and toke up? Definitely not – that’s a DUI, and presumably a fine from the rental car company if they notice an odor upon return. Hotels, generally, are also not an option, with more of those hefty fines if you are caught smoking in your room. The only correct answer is your own private residence, or a private place with the property owner’s explicit consent. If your landlord does not want you smoking in their building, it is their right to enforce that.
This leaves a lot of people shrugging their shoulders. They are thinking, “so, this is legal, but there’s no legal place for me to use it?” The options are certainly limited, but they do exist. With The World Famous Cannabis Café closing its doors at the end of 2015, the Northwest Cannabis Club (NWCC) remains standing as the only cannabis smoking lounge in Portland. They posses a designated outdoor patio for smoking flower, while dabbing and vaping concentrates are permitted inside the building. In addition to the NWCC, there are several local private institutions that host regular meetups where folks are encouraged to “BYOC”, or bring their own cannabis to share with the other attendees.
A solution is being offered in Senate Bill 307. After several revisions, including requiring the applicant to obtain a Land Use Compatibility Statement (LUCS), eliminating the on-site sale of edibles, and disallowing temporary events, the latest rendition of SB 307 would permit successful applicants to obtain a license to operate a “venue” where adults can smoke marijuana “inhalants” communally and legally. If passed, municipalities would have the option to incorporate the new program into their local ordinance, but it would not be mandated by the state.
While our government continues to discuss how they should approach the proposals detailed within the bill, the reality is that consumers are ready for some options when it comes to public consumption of marijuana. Citizens are making their voices loud and clear through the numerous articles written and shared, encouraging folks to call their Representatives and Senators to support the bill’s passage. They are showing up to physically rally for SB 307 at public hearings, standing up and delivering their testimonies to the Joint Marijuana Regulation Committee. If passed, SB 307’s smoking lounges could increase revenue for municipalities choosing to work with the program, create more jobs, and open the doors for consumers to have many more places to partake socially.
Want to support SB 307? Find your Rep and email them.
Go to: www.oregonlegislature.gov/findyourlegislator/leg-districts.html