The Oregon Legislature recently passed Senate Bill 587 (“SB 587” or the “State Bill”), which imposes a new tobacco and nicotine licensure program. The State Bill empowers the “governing body of a local public health authority” to enact an ordinance enforcing enhanced standards regulating tobacco products and inhalant delivery systems for purposes related to public health and safety. “A local public health authority” includes the governing body of a county. (See, ORS 431.03). Though the Operative Date of the Bill is January 1, 2022, local authorities may draft and enact ordinances prior to that date, so long as the effective date is no earlier than January 1, 2022.
On November 2, 2021, the Board of County Commissioners, acting as the Local Public Health Authority for Washington County, enacted Ordinance 878 (the “County Ordinance”). The County Ordinance purports to establish enhanced regulations for tobacco products in Washington County. The County Ordinance, however, uses definitions that diverge from existing statewide definitions, resulting in what many commentors have speculated is a broadly applicable ban on inhalable cannabis products sold at recreational marijuana premises licensed by the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission (OLCC).
The County Ordinance is not well written. On its face, and reading