Portland's Cannabis Cafe closing its doors over new air quality regulations
The owner of Southeast Portland's Cannabis Cafe has decided to shut the club down due to new state air quality regulations.
Oregon's Indoor Clean Air Act took effect Jan. 1 and banned indoor marijuana smoking, vaping and e-cigarette use in public places, just like cigarette smoking.
Madeline Martinez says she was forced to close down her club because she couldn't afford to pay the $500 per violation fines she'd face if she kept the club open.
"I'm going to be speaking to attorneys and I'm going to be speaking to my legislators to find out what exactly they have planned ... they sound supportive. They understand that we're between a rock and a hard place. We have to consume somewhere," Martinez told KATU News.
She said many of her customers live in subsidized housing, which bans smoking inside residences.
Medical marijuana cardholder Linda Manning came to Cannabis Cafe, partly because there's few other places she can smoke even though marijuana is legal in Oregon.
"If you're in housing, you can't smoke in your house. You can't smoke outside. You can't smoke in your car. So this is a place where we could come," Manning said.
Now Manning believes she and others will either have to break the law or go underground.
"It's sad that we have to hide when we're sick," Manning said.
Martinez believes the new regulations go against the will of Oregon voters who approved legalized marijuana.
"It just doesn't make any sense. I think that this is a real travesty to the people of Oregon - of the law. Why would they treat us like this? It's an obstacle. Many of these people here don't have a place to smoke," Martinez said.
Cannabis Cafe will close March 8.