An Oregon Senate bill could bring cannabis clubs to the state, giving locals and tourists alike a legal place to consume in a social setting outside their own homes.
“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.”
Senate Bill 307 would allow state-licensed lounges to permit cannabis consumption among adults 21 and older, provided the city or county has not banned cannabis establishments.
If approved, the bill would also allow “consumption and sale of marijuana items at temporary events,” according to the text from the bill.
Consumption and sale of alcohol beverages and tobacco products on the licensed premises would be prohibited, along with the use of video lottery games. Would-be club operators would need to apply for a state license and pay associated fees.
The measure has a number of noteworthy backers, especially in the Portland area. Portland Mayor Tex Wheeler and City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly have released a joint statement in support of SB 307.
“Since Oregon voters passed Ballot Measure 91 in 2014 legalizing and regulating cannabis, there have been questions about where cannabis can be consumed if consumers can’t (or don’t have the desire to) consume it at home,” the statement says. “Consuming cannabis in public, such as on a sidewalk or in a parking lot, is not legal.”
The statement also highlights the problems tourists face when visiting the Beaver State:
“Visitors to our state may also find themselves in a regulatory conundrum: while they may be able to legally purchase cannabis here in Oregon, they may not have a legal, regulated, and safe place to consume it. 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. SB 307 would provide the regulatory framework for tourists to enjoy the products from Oregon’s growing craft cannabis industry legally and safely, outside of the home and outside of public view.”
Joining forces with the Mayor and city commissioner was Portland Trailblazer great Cliff Robinson, who himself owns a cannabis brand, Uncle Cliffy. Robinson wrote an open a letter advocating for SB 307, emphasizing the racial disparities in cannabis-related arrests and citing Seattle arrest rates:
“A study of Seattle police enforcement’s arrest of public cannabis consumption found that African Americans made up 36 percent of those arrests, while only comprising eight percent of the city’s population. Studies have shown that marijuana is used at the same rate across all races, so these arrest statistics are very troubling.”
The next steps for the bill are unclear at this time, as it is reportedly not scheduled for a hearing or work session. Nevertheless, the Oregonian notes that the Joint Committee on Marijuana Regulation in Oregon does not “adhere to the same deadlines as other policy committees,” meaning the bill still has a chance to become law.