New Ballot Initiative Seeks to Legalize Indoor and Off-Job Cannabis Consumption in Oregon

It also strives to make weed sales legal across state lines.

Green Hop dispensary in Portland. (CJ Monserrat)

Three of Oregon's cannabis industry leaders filed a ballot initiative Monday seeking to alter state laws to to allow indoor cannabis consumption and to protect workers who consume weed off the job.

The initiative, which was first reported by the Statesman Journal, is titled the "Legalization Justice Act of 2020." It also directs the state to petition the federal government to allow for the sale of pot across state lines and to redistribute more cannabis tax dollars to minority communities who have been "disproportionately affected by the failed War on Drugs."

Under the act, 25 percent of cannabis tax dollars would go toward funding and promoting small, minority-owned businesses and to creating micro-lending initiatives. Another 25 percent would subsidize low-income medical marijuana card holders who don't have access to growers. And 50 percent would "continue to be used at the state's discretion."

To allow for indoor smoking in designated cafes and public events, the initiative's backers—Leia Flynn, Madeline Martinez and Angela Bacca—propose removing "the discriminatory provision under the Oregon Indoor Clean Air Act so that cannabis users can inhale inside."

They also suggest allowing patients with incurable or chronic illnesses to be issued lifetime medical cards though the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program and for organ recipients not to be removed from United Network for Organ Sharing lists for holding a medical card or testing positive for cannabis use.

For Oregon workers, the act would, "create employment protections under the law to protect off-the-job cannabis use and prevent discriminatory and conceptually flawed drug testing."

In initiative documents, Flynn, Martinez and Bacca refer to themselves as the "Oregon Justice League."

Flynn is a co-owner of Flight Lounge, a members-only smoking den in Southeast Portland; Martinez is the founder of the World Famous Cannabis Cafe and executive director of the Oregon branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws; and Bacca is a local freelance journalist covering in the industry.

Before the initiative can drafted into a ballot, the trio must collect 1,000 signatures to the Secretary of State's Office. In order for the ballot item to be included included in the November 2020 election, they must gather 112,020 signatures.

Willamette Week’s reporting has concrete impacts that change laws, force action from civic leaders, and drive compromised politicians from public office. Support WW's journalism today.