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Russ Belville of MarijuanaPolitics.com recently unveiled a disheartening announcement issued by the Oregon Health Authority: indoor cannabis cafes, like Portland’s World Famous Cannabis Café and The Other Spot will be forced to shut down come January due to unfortunate changes to the Oregon Clean Air Act.

Lawmakers have introduced the following changes to the law (bolded emphasis courtesy of Mr. Belville):

A person may not smoke, aerosolize or vaporize an inhalant or carry a lighted smoking instrument in a public place or place of employment except as provided in ORS 433.850 [medical marijuana use in a medical facility].

“Public place” means an enclosed area open to the public.

“Inhalant” means nicotine, a cannabinoid or any other substance that is inhaled for the purpose of delivering the nicotine, cannabinoid or other substance into a person’s respiratory system.

To justify this move, the state of Oregon cites concern over exposure to second-hand smoke, which studies have linked to cancer, heart disease, asthma and bronchitis. According to the state, “it is necessary to reduce exposure to such smoke, matter or toxins by prohibiting the smoking, aerosolizing or vaporizing of inhalants in all public places and places of employment.” This is all good and true in regards to tobacco, but regarding cannabis there are no proven studies linking it to the listed conditions.

But perhaps the most infuriating aspect of the OHA’s recent ruling is their allowance for certain “smoke shops” and “cigar bars,” in which patrons will be allowed to smoke — not vaporize — tobacco in an indoor setting, provided there is an adequate ventilation system. There is no such allowance for cannabis, and said “cigar bars” are in fact strictly barred from allowing any smoking or vaporizing of cannabinoids.

Photo Credit: Heath Alseike

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