Portland backs cannabis lounge bill, envisions 'craft' tourism boost

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The city of Portland has joined with cannabis businesses in lobbying for a bill that would allow consumption of cannabis at licensed lounges akin to tobacco smoking patios.

“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,” Mayor Ted Wheeler and Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, who oversees the Office of Neighborhood Involvement, the city’s cannabis regulatory body, said in testimony submitted to the Joint Committee on Marijuana Regulation this week.

“SB 307 would provide the regulatory framework for tourists to enjoy the products from Oregon’s growing craft cannabis industry legally and safely, outside the home and outside of public view,” the Portland leaders went on.

As originally introduced, SB 307 allowed for consumption at temporary events and at indoor lounges. But after the bill ran into opposition, a workgroup produced an amended version, discussed at a public hearing on Tuesday, that drops the events provision and shifts to the smoking patio concept, with at least one open wall.

Licenses would only be allowed in cities or counties that pass ordinances allowing for them.

The Portland officials, along with other supporters, also said the bill is needed for citizens who, for whatever reason, can’t smoke in their residence.

“Absent a legal, regulated, and safe place outside of the home to consume cannabis … Oregonians may find themselves consuming cannabis in public view on sidewalks, on streets, in vehicles, and in parks,” they wrote.

Various health workers and officials testified against the bill, arguing that it could expose workers to dangerous second-hand smoke and send the wrong message to children.

“Our kids are watching,” Jennifer Vines, deputy health director for Multnomah County, testified. “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 that social norms around tobacco and smoking products.”

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Source: 420Intel – Politics

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