Pubdate: Thu, 03 Mar 2016
Source: Herald, The (Everett, WA)
Copyright: 2016 The Daily Herald Co.
Author: Noelle Crombie, The Oregonian


PORTLAND, Ore. - The owner of the World Famous Cannabis Cafe 
announced she will close her doors next week after another warning by 
public health officials that the establishment violates indoor air rules.

The cafe will host its final Stoner Bingo session Sunday, said 
Madeline Martinez, a longtime marijuana legalization advocate and 
owner of the business, which offers people 21 and older a place to 
socialize and use cannabis.

She doesn't want to face fines for violating the law, she said.

The decision follows an unannounced visit last week by Erik 
Vidstrand, a Multnomah County tobacco program specialist, to the 
Southeast Foster Road cafe, Martinez said. Vidstrand pointed out 
ashtrays and remnants of smoked joints and reminded her that smoking 
is not allowed in the cafe under state law, she said.

"I told them they are infringing on my constitutional rights," said 
Martinez, whose patrons must bring their own marijuana to consume at 
the club. "I have a right to gather peacefully. That is what I am 
exercising. They are very concerned about the toxicity (of cannabis 
smoke), which is ridiculous."

Lawmakers expanded Oregon's Indoor Clean Air Act last year to 
prohibit the use of devices such as vaporizer pens and e-cigarettes 
in public areas and workplaces. Marijuana was added to the law, which 
initially targeted only tobacco.

The indoor clean air law includes exemptions for two types of 
businesses: cigar bars, where patrons may smoke cigars, and smoke 
shops, where tobacco consumption is allowed. Both kinds of businesses 
must be certified by the state.

Oregon is home to a small number of cannabis clubs where people 
generally pay a membership fee to smoke, dab and vape the drug in a 
social setting. Another Southeast Portland club, the Other Spot, 
closed recently over concerns about the clean air provisions.

Sen. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene, introduced an amendment during the 
Legislature's 35-day session that would have exempted cannabis cafes 
from the clean air law, but it did not have enough support to pass.

Rep. Ann Lininger, D-Lake Oswego, said she heard from public health 
advocates and local government officials who worry about exempting 
pot clubs from clean air rules. Lininger serves as co-chair of the 
joint legislative committee on the implementation of marijuana legalization.

The Coalition of Local Health Officials did not take a position on 
the amendment but submitted testimony to the joint committee 
detailing its concerns about efforts to weaken the clean air law.

"We are concerned about the potential air quality in these proposed 
cannabis cafes," the testimony states.

The Oregon Health Authority also submitted testimony spelling out its 
concerns about cannabis cafes and a potential increase in youth use 
of marijuana.

Lininger said the current short session didn't offer enough time to 
work on the issue. She said she's open to reviving the issue next year.

For now, marijuana consumers hoping to drop in at the World Famous 
Cannabis Cafe's regular Stoner Bingo nights and jam sessions are out of luck.

"They are not happy," she said. "They are asking me where are they going to go."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom