FIRE FIRE FIRE!
It’s urgent, high pitched and irritated, this alarm, and it can’t be shut off. But there is no fire.
FIRE FIRE FIRE!
They toss the wet towel in the tub – obviously it did nothing – and they start waving whatever papers they can find just below the smoke detector. This is a hotel, they paid a little extra for something nice on their vacation, so one of them calls the front desk.
“Hi…sorry…the smoke detector is going off in our room. I’m not sure why. We had some candles burning and we just blew them out, so…” The alarm stops either by front desk intervention or because there wasn’t that much smoke in the room in the first place. Somehow the kid in the adjoining room slept through the blasting siren.
Big fines for misbehavior
KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK
Obviously it’s hotel security. The guests repeat the same story: candles, confusion, glad it’s over…
“Sir.” Security is obviously tired of this shit. “It is marijuana. I can smell it.” The shame of being caught breaking a grade school rule comes flooding back. “We can evict you from your room for this, but I’m not going to do that. You will have to pay a fine though.” He walks away without saying goodbye. That this has probably happened to him over and over again does nothing to alleviate their stress.
So where can I smoke all this legal pot?
Happy not to be kicked out of a hotel in the middle of the night, they go to bed and wonder just what they were supposed to do with the legal cannabis they bought a few hours earlier. There are lots of great reasons to visit Portland, but part of the reason they came was to see what this cannabis legalization was all about.
So after the kids went to sleep, one of them ducked out and bought a pre-rolled joint, just to give it a try.
But they laugh, in the end. Let’s not allow this to ruin the vacation. They flush the rest down the toilet. Even though there were a few more cannabis dispensaries they thought about trying – advertised in the guide provided by the hotel – they decide not to spend any more money on a product they don’t seem to be allowed to consume. Sure, it’s a little confusing, but they stick to family-friendly brew pubs. They find plenty of places that serve beer and have waist-high chalkboard-lined play areas.
Any tourist visiting a cannabis-friendly city faces this dilemma: Where can one consume this product, advertised on billboards and in magazines, safely and legally? The answer, in almost all markets, is: Nowhere, except a private residence.
Social Consumption: Oregon Senate Bill 307
Sam Chapman, who has worked in cannabis activism for over eight years, wants to help solve this problem. Sam is lobbying to pass Senate Bill 307 (SB 307), which would allow for sale and consumption of cannabis items at temporary events. The original bill included licensed cannabis clubs, but advocates abandoned that plan in an effort to remain compliant with Oregon’s Indoor Clean Air Act.
For Sam, attorney/compliance consultant Leland Berger, and Casey Houlihan, head of the Oregon Retailers of Cannabis Association, social consumption legislation is about making common sense laws. Laws that protect not only the consumer purchasing legal cannabis, but also those who must deal with secondhand smoke because the tourist who just bought a legal joint has no other option but to light it up in the park. Mr. Chapman is adamant that he’s not doing this for money or because he has a personal stake in the outcome.
An activist movement
“This is an activist lobby movement,” Chapman says. “No one’s whispering in my ear telling me how to do it. This bill is for patients, parents, people who don’t own there homes, and tourists who all deserve a safe, legal place to consume legal cannabis. Right now you’ve got people smoking in their cars, on sidewalks, and in parks. We are very serious about reducing the exposure of second hand cannabis smoke for children and anyone else who doesn’t wish to be around it, and we hope Oregon’s public health representatives are as well.”
Proponents of SB 307 also claim that the legislation will improve the quality of life for locals as much as tourists. Parents who don’t want to smoke in their homes, renters who cannot smoke in their homes, and schools and community centers that currently endure illegal public consumption on their premises will all benefit from the passage of a social consumption bill.
Mr. Houlihan simply wants to ensure that cannabis consumers enjoy the same protections as alcohol and cigarette users, but he knows it’s going to take a grass roots movement to effect real change:
“The fight is to make sure we are treated as fairly as other industries is going to go on for a long time. At the end of the day, policy is made by the people who show up.”
We encourage those who wish to show up and have their voices heard to familiarize themselves with and then contact their local representatives. You can get more information and an email template for contacting legislators here.