Senate Bill (SB) 235, which was originally a tobacco retail licensure (TRL) bill, continues through the process. The bill was “gut and stuffed” in the Senate Health Care Committee to simply put in statute a definition of “enclosed space” under the Indoor Clean Air Act (ICAA). However, now in the House Health Care Committee, there are attempts to add back language to create a statewide TRL program that would still allow local governments to either have their own licensing program, or to establish requirements for retailers in their area that would be conditional requirements for the state to issue a license to a retailer in that county. AOC and others testified in favor of amendment language that does not preclude counties’ ability to establish local requirements for retailers on May 15. The bill is scheduled for a work session on May 22.

SB 307 would allow for social consumption of cannabis. AOC has been involved in a workgroup convened by Senator Ferrioli on this bill. The original bill allowed for both temporary events with cannabis and fixed locations for social consumption. Following the workgroup, -1 amendments were introduced. These amendments would limit social consumption to “lounges” licensed by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC), with outdoor smoking porches that meet current standards for tobacco use on patios, where patrons could smoke cannabis; tobacco and alcohol would not be allowed. The rationale behind the -1 amendments is that it does not violate the Indoor Clean Air Act and limiting it to combustible cannabis removes some risk of driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII) associated with edible cannabis. However, there remain a number of regulatory questions and concerns. AOC is still opposed to the bill and would prefer to see an amended SB 308, which would establish an ongoing workgroup to discuss social consumption through the interim. We testified as much at the public hearing on SB 307 on May 16.

House Bill (HB) 2175 and HB 2176 both had public hearings and were passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 17. HB 2175 would lift the statewide cap on the number of sobering centers that may be registered with the Oregon Health Authority (OHA); when original legislation passed to allow for registered centers in 2015, the number was capped at three. This was a compromise with the trial attorneys, who at the time had concerns over insurance and liability issues. This session, the trial lawyers acknowledged the success of the existing centers and supporting lifting the cap. HB 2176 authorizes counties to use funds from Mental Health Alcoholism and Drug Services Account for sobering facilities. The bill also exempts sobering facilities from an obligation to report specified data to the Alcohol and Drug Policy Commission, which they do not have responsibility for collecting. AOC testified in favor of both bills on May 17.

SB 754-A, “Tobacco 21,” is awaiting a third reading and vote on the House Floor as the House has a backlog of bills to get through.

HB 2122-A is also awaiting a vote in the House due to the large backlog

Contributed by: Stacy Michaelson | AOC Health & Human Services Policy Manager