New Oregon Clean Air Rules Forcing Cannabis Cafes to Close

New Oregon Clean Air Rules Forcing Cannabis Cafes to Close

(Photo: Adam Wickman)

Because of new clean air rules in the state of Oregon, rules we reported on late last year, the World Famous Cannabis Café in Portland has had to close its doors.

As a place where legal cannabis users gathered to consume their legal product, the café violates new additions to the state’s Indoor Clean Air Act. A “tobacco program specialist” made an unannounced visit to the café recently and warned owner Madeline Martinez that she was in violation of the law and faced fines.

Proponents of the new rules claim they are worried about the toxicity of marijuana smoke, yet the rules provide exemptions for smoke shops and cigar bars. Just not cannabis cafes.

In reality these efforts are simply a way for government officials to place onerous rules on something they likely didn’t support in the first place: cannabis legalization. If adults are legally allowed to possess and consume marijuana, at least these officials can narrow down the venues in which it can be consumed.

If you want to talk about toxicity, let’s talk about bars: adults consuming a toxic substance that makes them belligerent and robs them of rational judgement of a given situation. You might not inhale any dirty smoke, but you might catch someone’s fist to your nose and possibly get alcohol poisoning and die. But don’t smoke a joint, hippie.

Other cannabis clubs have had to close in Oregon and before long most of them will be gone. A grim reminder that, even in states where cannabis has been legalized for recreational use, there is much work still to be done.

Until cannabis users are at least as free as those who consume alcohol, there will always be more work to be done.