Oregon Weed Advocates Contemplating Ballot Measure to Legalize Cannabis Cafes

It's easy to buy cannabis but finding a legal place to smoke it remains challenging.

(Adam Wickham/WW)

The cannabis advocacy group the New Revenue Coalition wants Oregon lawmakers to expand the number of places where consumers can light up.

Currently, Oregon law effectively restricts cannabis consumption to private residences but many landlords don't allow renters to smoke in rented properties.

Sam Chapman, a spokesman for the New Revenue Coalition, says his group will push lawmakers in 2019 to legalize, license and regulate cafes and lounges specifically dedicated to cannabis consumption. The group also plans to begin gathering signatures for a 2020 ballot measure as a back-up plan.

"Cannabis consumers deserve a place to use their cannabis safely and legally. This is a social justice issue that disproportionately affects the poor, patients and communities of color," says Madeline Martinez, a national board member for National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and executive director of Oregon NORML.

Martinez founded the first social consumption lounge in the United States, Portland's World Famous Cannabis Cafe, in 2009. Her business fell afoul of amended indoor air quality laws in 2016.

The New Revenue Coalition is kicking off its expansion efforts with an event on Aug. 29 at 6 pm  at Tillamook Station (665 N. Tillamook St.) with state Sen. Lew Frederick (D-Portland).

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