Oregon Bill Would Make Cigarettes Illegal
As more states are moving to decriminalize marijuana, Oregon may be moving the opposite direction with a new bill that would ultimately make possession of any nicotine product illegal without a doctor’s prescription. Rep. Mitch Greenlick from Portland has sponsored a bill that moves nicotine to a Schedule III controlled substance—along with ketamine, hydrocodone and anabolic steroids—and would make possessing cigarettes without a prescription punishable with up to one year in prison and up to $6,250 in fines.
“A person commits the crime of unlawful possession of nicotine if the person knowingly possesses more than 0.1 milligram of nicotine,” the bill states. It would also be illegal to possess “any device in which tobacco… is burned,” including “pipes, water pipes, hookahs, wooden pipes, carburetor pipes, electric pipes, air driven pipes, corncob pipes, meerschaum pipes and ceramic pipes… cigarette rolling papers and rolling machines”
The bill also makes any online sale of such products to anyone with an Oregon address illegal. Although it allows nicotine use and possession with a doctor’s prescription, it’s difficult to imagine many scenarios where a doctor would prescribe nicotine products.
Furthermore, the bill does not limit its restrictions to tobacco products, closing the door on those who have made the switch the electronic cigarettes, thought to be a safer alternative because they lack smoke and other harmful chemicals. Although the bill mentions “electronic pipes” in reference to devices that burn tobacco—which e-cigarettes do not—it’s highly likely that Oregon would seek to enforce any law stemming from this bill in a manner that encompasses all nicotine products.
[Image via Shutterstock]
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