Part I of III
Oregon Clean Air Act Defecates on Personal Liberties
The latest news coming from Salem is that the newly passed HB2564 comes to the citizenry’s rescue and makes a dashing attempt to limit the activities of cannabis users in their respective clubs and lounges.
Around Portland, a bevy of private-owned but publically run lounges have sprung up and many people have taken advantage of the indoor area to consume. Now, with the Clean Air Act amended, the bureaucrats have effectively made it impossible to have a cannabis lounge as of December 1st.
With some clever writing, the amended legislation sweeps up any usage that would be deemed “vaporizing” or aerosolizing anything or using a device used to do so in an indoor area that is open to the public or in reference to a work area and makes it forbidden. Some oddly worded caveats are thrown in for patients.
The Clean Air Act amendment goes on to say that cigar bars and smoke shops will continue to be licensed but they are forbidden to allow anything to be smoked or aerosolized on the premises. Cigar bars will be offered a very limited venue opportunity of 40 seats and cigar-use is strictly enforced, not even cigarillos will be allowed by the Oregon Health Authority.
This catch-22 was not accidental and the queer pairing of tobacco and cannabinoid in the following: “SECTION 14 – SUBSECTION I-2 “Inhalant means nicotine, a cannabinoid, or any other substance that allows delivery to the respiratory system”. No part of the document gives definition to the relative dangers of tobacco byproduct and the relative benefits of cannabis byproduct. Obtusely, we’re supposed to believe that a cigar-smoke-ridden-40-seat-lounge is going to be less of a health hazard than a cannabis lounge. The people involved in the Oregon Health Authority are both naïve and completely disjointed with the simple definition of personal liberty.
Clean air is an absolute right to anyone, that’s an imperative. This goes for people on the job, or people patronizing a public business. Clean air should be a personal right and ventilation in a general sense should be regarded very highly by all people who act in the public sector. With this said, we need to make language that requires restaurants to ventilate their spaces so that people can enjoy air free of food byproduct contamination.
Food and tobacco need to be addressed as top priority public dangers, with strict regulations on smoking on public sidewalks and near entrances to public businesses.
What is not needed is the state to get involved in what consenting adults do in indoor spaces. Consent implies that the adults understand the risks and are given the free will opportunity to opt out. Lounges should be able to do whatever they would like and ventilation can be addressed just like today’s cigar bar language reads.
Portland has far more cannabis users than tobacco that are willing to pay to be in a lounge to consume and the ideology that cigar bars are going to exist but cannabis users get nothing is completely naïve by the “Salem vacuum of ideas”. To alienate the thousands of OMMP patients and caregivers who help them patronize patient lounges is a slap in the face and a total disrespect to personal liberty and the free will of people to congregate peacefully. The thousands of “recreational users” and ex-ommp cardholders also become orphaned and this is a major oversight by the legislators as seen by anyone who understands the tide of normalization and re-integration that cannabis is going to see in our culture.