Legal pot cafes could be coming to Oregon

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Lawmakers are drafting a bill to allow public consumption locations

Oregon may be a marijuana-friendly state, but there are a number of restrictions that make consumption difficult. It’s easy enough to purchase recreational marijuana at a dispensary; the trick is finding a place where it can be consumed, especially for those that don’t own their own home. A new bill being drafted by lawmakers, however, could change this and would allow for the creation of public marijuana cafés.

Senator Lew Frederick of Portland, in conjunction with the New Revenue Coalition, is working to create legislation that would legalize pot cafés. The endeavor is supported by Jeanette Horton, the executive director of the NuLeaf Project, who states, “It’s really important for the issue of cannabis decriminalization specifically for people of color,” said Horton. “You can purchase it, but you can’t light it up so you’re still in a position where people are at risk for arrest.”

The bill is still in its preliminary stages and there is still a lot of work to be done if it is to be passed. Opponents believe cafés could be a public safety and health issue, citing studies that indicate that consumption impairs driving. However, their position is full of potholes. Alcohol consumption impairs driving, but hasn’t been banned. Instead, rules are in place to try and prevent driving under the influence and those same rules can apply to marijuana while allowing the industry to flourish.

They also try to argue that cannabis smoke has cancer-causing chemicals similar to those found in tobacco, a belief that has already been refuted by science. While cannabis smoke does contain carcinogens, they are much less than those found in tobacco and tetrahydrocannabinol can actually inhibit carcinogens.