Public Marijuana Consumption – Why Not Oregon and Washington?

public marijuana consumption

Oregon and Washington are risking being left behind in the emerging world of public marijuana consumption in the USA. There is one current and five pending legal marijuana states that will be happy to take the Pacific Northwest’s marijuana tourism dollars.


A recent 3-2 vote by the amended the definition of “public consumption”, banned by the legalization initiative, to allow for the consumption of marijuana at certain licensed marijuana stores. It also decided against banning the existing private cannabis clubs, ruling that if they did not have the statutory authority to regulate them, they lacked the authority then to ban them as well.


The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) has already placed the first of their three CRMLAs (Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol) on the November ballot in Nevada. It doesn’t explicitly legalize cannabis clubs, but section 14, paragraph 8 of NV-CRMLA says that “the legislature may amend provisions of this act to provide for the conditions in which a locality may permit consumption of marijuana in a retail marijuana store.”


MPP’s CRMLA in Massachusetts is the only remaining legalization option now, with Bay State Repeal missing its signature goal. MA-CRMLA still faces the legislature, which may approve it for the ballot, or MPP can submit another over 10,000 signatures to force it on the ballot. The initiative allows the marijuana commission to issue “licenses that authorize the consumption of marijuana or marijuana products on the premises where sold [and] licenses that authorize the consumption of marijuana at special events in limited areas and for a limited time…”


MPP’s CRMLA in Arizona has consistently turned in high signature counts and will likely make the ballot. While the AZ-CRMLA initially bans the regulation of any cannabis clubs, “After January 1, 2020, the department may adopt and enforce rules to allow for the issuance of licenses to permit the consumption of marijuana within a specified area of a marijuana retailer…”


MPP folded their Maine CRMLA to get behind the grassroots Legalize Maine campaign, which is close to enough signatures to make the ballot. Maine’s initiative explicitly creates retail marijuana social clubs, defined as “an entity licensed to sell retail marijuana and retail marijuana products to consumers for consumption on the licensed premises.”


California has a plethora of initiatives on marijuana, but I’ve been concentrating on the four with the most visible campaigns. Those are the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA or “Sean Parker Initiative”), Control Regulate & Tax Cannabis Act (CRTC or “ReformCA”), Marijuana Control Legalization & Revenue Act (MCLR), and the California Cannabis Hemp Initiative (CCHI or “Jack Herer Initiative”). All four provide some manner of local allowance or state licensure for cannabis clubs.

Public Marijuana Consumption

With these states poised to allow for adult social-use cannabis clubs and efforts ongoing in Denver, Colorado, to allow for onsite consumption, by 2017 Oregon and Washington may find themselves as the only legal marijuana states that don’t give adult tourists any legal place to consume marijuana.

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