After recreational-use marijuana shops went into business at the start of the year, Sacramento may now allow on-site lounges where people can smoke the cannabis they just purchased.
If given the go-ahead, the lounges would likely be allowed at both medical dispensaries and recreational marijuana shops.
While creating a hangout that keeps customers close would seemingly benefit pot shops, it’s the demand from marijuana users that is pushing the idea forward.
“The consideration or debate around on-site consumption is broader than just this is something that the dispensary wants or something that the industry wants,” Sacramento Chief of Cannabis Policy Enforcement Joe Devlin said. “This is about meeting a market need that currently exists.”
The need stems from a lack of places to smoke marijuana. Public property like parks or sidewalks is off limits, and many landlords ban smoking pot.
Marijuana lounges are allowed is several California cities, including San Francisco, Oakland, and South Lake Tahoe.
Devlin said he and his team plan to study how other cities, both in California and abroad, regulate their lounges.
“We’re going to want to get into some of the details of how these places are managed, the quantities potentially sold,” he said.
Another consideration is how to make sure people aren’t smoking marijuana and then driving high.
That’s been addressed at the Tahoe Wellness Cooperative in South Lake Tahoe. The shop makes patrons sign a waiver where they promise not to drive once they leave.
Sacramento city staff plan to present their findings in April. Allowing or rejecting smoking lounges will ultimately be up to the city council.