NWVA is born…
Late in 2014 it was brought to the attention of a few local shop owners that there were Bills being introduced into the 2015 legislative session that would be detrimental to the Oregon vaping industry. We were concerned but had no idea what could be done. One shop owner, Ernie Morreira, happened across Matt Minahan. Matt, having a working knowledge of the Oregon legislature, knew what needed to be done. He contacted as many local shops as he could find and set up a meeting. Several of the shops attending joined together to create Northwest Vapor Association (NWVA). A non profit organization dedicated to protecting the vaping industry from unjust regulation. A noble cause…and perhaps we could make a difference in the few bills that were on the table. Soon the true strength of the legislative storm to come would be evident.
As the 2015 legislative session began we soon realized that this was not just a couple of bills being thrown at us. This was an all out attack that would have devastating impacts on all vapers in Oregon. The bills just kept coming, often on a daily basis. Before we knew what had hit us we had over 20 bills that we were tracking! Click here for an archive of these. This was an all out war against the vaping industry. They wanted to do everything from banning flavors to taxing vape products. If left unchecked they would have banned internet sales and made it a felony to possess the nicotine contained in a few pounds of tomatoes!
Without NWVA standing in the way of these overzealous and misinformed legislators there would soon be no more vape industry in Oregon. Fortunately, NWVA was growing. More shops were signing up to add their support to the association. This helped get the word out to other shops and individuals. After months of hearings, testimony, and meetings with representatives all but one bill were killed. The one bill that we were unable to kill…that became law is HB2546.
It’s now law…
HB2546 is now law. The legislators pushing this bill were particularly underhanded and sneaky. They tied everything to making it illegal for minors. Had the minors portion (which we agree with) been in a separate bill we most likely could have killed everything else…but it wasn’t. They made this the only avenue for restricting access to minors. Voting against this bill would be construed as wanting to give minors nicotine. In all fairness there was one other bill, sponsored by Andy Olson, that only dealt with the minors issue. Unfortunately, the committee chairman refused to hear it. Basically HB2546:
- makes sales to/possession by minors illegal
- requires OHA to create rules for labeling and packaging
- adds vaping into the Oregon Clean Air Act (OICAA)
- requires signs to be posted at all sales locations
It is now illegal to sell any inhalant delivery device or liquid to a minor. This is to be enforced by the Oregon Health Administration (OHA). We have met with the OHA about this. They will be performing sting operations using minors. Please be checking identification. The minors used in these operation use valid ID and are instructed to tell the truth if asked about their age. They also are instructed to leave if they see a prominent sign stating they are not allowed to enter the establishment.
OHA currently has committees writing the rules for labeling and packaging. Matt Minahan, our lobbyist, is in these meetings fighting for us. We will be providing updates about the rules once they have a final draft.
2015 Annual meeting…
Our 2015 annual meeting is held each year at the end of October. We had a great time meeting with our supporters. We look forward to seeing more of you throughout the year at various events. Each year half of the board positions are up for election. Make sure to keep your membership current so that you can vote! Our current Board consists of:
- President -Will Krause
- Vice President -Ron Sather
- Secretary -Colin Rau
- Treasurer -Kim Sather
- Joseph Gilpatrick
- Sabrina Wright
- Tim Churchill
- David Glenn