A bill to allow cannabis consumption lounges was among hundreds of proposals that died in the Oregon Legislature after lawmakers pushed to move other legislative priorities in advance of a key deadline.

Legislators had until April 9, 2019, to move their bills out of committee, either to the floor for a vote or to another committee for further consideration. More than a thousand bills were introduced since the beginning of the session, and committees found themselves rushing to vote on hundreds on bills sometimes with little to no discussion.

Proposals that couldn’t get a vote are essentially doomed for this session, although there are some legislative loopholes lawmakers can still use if they wanted to revive the bill later. Democratic House Speaker Tina Kotek said most of the dead bills still needed more work before they could receive a vote. She added that there were simply “too many bills” introduced this year, which prevented lawmakers from effectively addressing them all.

A plan that would have paved the way for the creation of cannabis lounges was among the measures that were scrapped. The move dealt a setback to Oregon‘s marijuana industry, one of 10 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. to allow adult-use cannabis sales and consumption.

A plan that would have paved the way for the creation of cannabis lounges was among the measures that were scrapped. The move dealt a setback to Oregon‘s marijuana industry, one of 10 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. to allow adult-use cannabis sales and consumption.

Brandon Goldner, supervisor of Portland’s Cannabis Program, argued that the legalization of indoor cannabis lounges would provide a safe, regulated space for users to consume. He said that tourists often visit Oregon to purchase recreational marijuana, but find they have no place to consume it.

Parents and public health officials raised concerns that cannabis cafes would normalize marijuana use among teens and weaken the state’s public health laws.

The proposal also would have allowed for the sale and consumption of marijuana at festivals and other events, something cannabis retailers claimed would generate more tax revenue and tourism for the state.

A representative for Democratic state Sen. Lew Frederick, who sponsored the measure, said the bill died “seemingly because of opposition to the use of cannabis itself among members.”

Other rejected measures included a measure lowering the legal blood alcohol driving limit from 0.08 to 0.05 and proposals to limit where and how pesticides can be applied.


— Sarah Zimmerman

Featured Image: Curls of smoke photo by Christopher Najewicz via Flickr.