Written by Guest Blogger Edgar Diaz, Willamette University College of Law chapter leader
The Oregon Indoor Clean Air Act prohibits smoking and vaporizing cannabis in public places and places of employment, which makes cannabis cafes illegal. Without cannabis cafes, medical marijuana patients and consumers will not have access to a safe place to consume cannabis. Exempting cannabis smoke from the Indoor Clean Air Act will help both patients and consumers while reducing children’s exposure to cannabis.
Some opponents argue that cannabis cafes will promote cannabis use amongst children, however, cannabis cafes reduce the appeal to children. Children who see people conspicuously using cannabis in public can be influenced to believe that public consumption is acceptable. However, with cannabis cafes, cannabis consumption will be away from public places such as in parks, sidewalks and near school property because patients and consumers will be inside a building. People will no longer conspicuously use cannabis and parents will obtain more control of their child’s exposure to cannabis. By getting rid of public consumption, children will know where the proper place and time to use cannabis will be as an adult.
The Indoor Clean Air Act also burdens medical marijuana patients who cannot consume cannabis at home. For instance, since smoking cannabis in public is illegal in Oregon, patients and consumers must consume in their home. However, a rental lease can prevent a medical marijuana patient from consuming and growing cannabis. Therefore, a patient with serious health conditions will have to choose between violating their rental lease or risk being cited for public consumption just to consume their medicine.
Since cannabis has not been shown to cause chronic diseases, it is a safer alternative to tobacco and alcohol. Yet, there are taverns, hookah bars, and restaurants serving alcohol scattered in our country. With the threat from cannabis lower than other substances, states should give cannabis patients and consumers a safe place to consume. States should amend their Indoor Clean Air Act to allow cannabis consumers and patients to have a safe place to consume cannabis away from children.
Edgar is an SSDP chapter leader at Willamette College of Law in his second year. He grew up in California and obtained his BA in History from UC Davis. Edgar has spent his time in Oregon working in cannabis law and advocating for drug policy reform. After graduating, he hopes on starting his own law practice in cannabis law.