One thing that seems to inevitably come along with marijuana legalization is the implementation of numerous restrictions that change not only state to state, but in some cases county to county. Of course, this is not much different than any other substance regulated by both state and local authorities (alcohol for example).
Well, there were a few changes made in Portland Oregon this week that may not be appreciated by all the casual users of cannabis in the state, as well as many business owners or potential business owners.
On Wednesday, Portland lawmakers unanimously banned drive-thru dispensaries within the city. While there are not any dispensaries currently operating with drive-thru or walk-up windows there has definitely been talk on the subject – so lawmakers put a stop to it before it could even have a chance.
I guess in the long run it’s better to have this ban in place ahead of time, rather than going through all the trouble of closing down or modifying shops that were already existing. The state does not have any specifications on the legality of drive-thru or walk-up dispensaries, though there is already one with a tentative opening date of April 20th in Gold Beach.
However, this preemptive strike was not taken in time in regards to cannabis cafes – which have are also banned, but for a slightly different reason.
The World Famous Cannabis Café, located in Portland has announced that they will be closing their doors next week. This was prompted by yet another warning by local health officials that their establishment is not in compliance with the clean air laws.
During multiple visits they were sighted for having ashtrays and remnants of smoked joints, reminding the owner that smoking was not allowed in the café under state laws.
The clean air laws were amended last year to include vaporizers and e-cigarette vapor pens – as well as adding marijuana to the law that was originally targeted only at tobacco. While it is permitted to smoke in cigar bars and smoke shops, the café simply doesn’t fall into one of those categories.
“I think the idea of cannabis cafes makes sense, especially if we allow cigar bars, but the concerns of public health advocates are real,”(Lininger) she said. “We need to make sure that if we allow the creation of cannabis cafes we do it in a way that is safe for workers and that is going to require some careful thought and discussion among people who care about the issue.”
Personally, if we’re more concerned about the health concerns of cannabis cafes than cigar bars, I’m a little worried. Tobacco, which is proven to cause cancer, can be smoked in a room that will become clouded with toxic smoke – but Cannabis, proven to kill cancer cells, could be too toxic to consume in a similar setting?
We will see where this all ends up in the long run – it’s going to be a lot of trial and error all over the country until things finally start to settle in. After all, nobody really knows the best way to regulate a substance that has been banned for so long – all we can do is see what works and what doesn’t.