A private club where members can bring and smoke their own marijuana opened its doors in Worcester Friday, prompting city officials to call on the state weed regulators to quickly close what they say is a loophole in the law.
“Our members are able to smoke anything that’s legal in Massachusetts,” said Kyle Moon, part-owner of the newly opened The Summit Lounge in Worcester.
“We’re just a place to socialize,” he added.
“The reality is, it’s legal in Massachusetts and it’s coming whether we like it or not.”
The Water Street lounge is open to members who pay $50 per month for access to the private club. Once inside, members can smoke marijuana and tobacco, rent pipes and bongs, enjoy a few snacks and play video games on a variety of available consoles. The club doesn’t sell any marijuana or alcohol.
Moon, who said he doesn’t use marijuana, stressed The Summit Club isn’t supposed to be just a place where Worcester-area residents can go light up.
“We’re not just a place people can come smoke cannabis, we’re a place where people can smoke cigars, smoke hookah, they don’t even have to smoke,” he said. “We want to be that environment where people who don’t want to go out to the typical nightclub, bar scene, can go.”
Still, the club’s website advertises the lounge as “Worcester’s premier cannabis consumption lounge.”
The club opened its doors the same day the Massachusetts District Attorneys Association sent a letter to the Cannabis Control Commission warning that social consumption businesses in Massachusetts “greatly increase the risks to public safety.”
Because it is not a public business, The Summit Lounge is not covered by the commission’s oversight.
In a statement, Worcester City Manager Edward M. Augustus said the city is asking the CCC to put regulations in place for private clubs.
“The occupant of 116 Water Street (The Summit Lounge) did not disclose to the city that he would be operating a private club for the purpose of marijuana consumption. He has exploited a loophole in the 2017 Marijuana Act as well as the draft regulation,” Augustus’ statement read.
“The City of Worcester has submitted written testimony to the Cannabis Control Commission that the loophole must be closed and private ‘bring your own marijuana’ clubs must be addressed.”
Both Gov. Charlie Baker and Mayor Martin J. Walsh have urged the commission to focus on getting dispensaries open in time and leave other kinds of businesses — like home delivery services and pot cafes — for later debate. The Cannabis Control Commission didn’t respond to a request for comment last night.
Moon said despite marijuana’s legality, there are still very few places for recreational and medical users to go to smoke, especially in a social setting. He said he hopes his club’s opening will encourage a wave of similar businesses to open around the state.