A new expansion of Oregon’s Indoor Clean Air Act stands to be a major problem for the state’s cannabis clubs and cafes. Starting January 1, 2016, marijuana smoking or vaping will not be allowed indoors in “public spaces.”
The original reason for the expansion of the law was to ban e-cigs and other vaporizers in public spaces or workplaces, but marijuana was added to the law more recently.
If that wasn’t bad enough, there are exemptions to these new indoor clean air rules: patrons of cigar bars are allowed to smoke cigars in those establishments, and tobacco consumption will still be allowed in smoke shops.
So why the exemptions for tobacco and not cannabis, even vaporized cannabis? How can activists not assume these new regulations are aimed specifically at legal marijuana in the state?
For their part, cannabis club owners counter by saying their clubs are for the private use of their members and is therefore not a public place that is governed by the new regulations. Of course, state officials disagree. Guess who is more likely to win that battle?
It certainly does seem that some officials in Oregon are not happy about cannabis being legal and they are looking for ways to punish businesses and consumers. And it’s certainly no secret that local officials in the eastern portion of the state have let their displeasure with legalization be known.
It will take many years before the stigma of cannabis is erased enough that consumers will be treated like any other person buying a legal product in the legal marketplace. It took a long time to get to this point and it will take a long time to get back. Hopefully, at least, the trip back will be a little quicker.