Jun 4, 2023

Why Aren’t There Any Cannabis Lounges Near You?

Two friends sharing a Fernway joint - a woman with her back to the camera, wearing a Fernway jacket with a big white logo, passes the joint to a man in a brown shirt.

Picture this:

You stroll into your lively local dispensary. The music is chill, the air is fragrant, and the vibe is right. You scroll the menu and pick out a strain that piques your interest. Then you settle into a cozy corner of the on-site lounge. As you light up your purchase, you open a seltzer and strike up a conversation with some other patrons. Your new strain’s effects are instantly amplified and improved by the chill surroundings.

Sounds good, right? The bad news is this experience isn’t yet a reality in Massachusetts. But it could be on the horizon.

Friends sharing a Fernway jointWhat is the State of Cannabis in Massachusetts?

Since 2016, adults 21 and older have been legally allowed to use marijuana in Massachusetts. Retail sales commenced in November 2018, and the state also permits home growing—adults can cultivate up to 12 plants per household. You can possess up to 10 ounces of weed at home, provided it’s safely stored. Medical marijuana users can access larger quantities, as recommended by their physician.

However despite how many more dispensaries there are, there aren’t any licensed lounges where you can purchase product and consume it on-site. That’s because legalization is a slow process, and the rules for how these lounges will be run are still being written. Which means that there’s nobody who is licensed to follow those rules and serve the cannabis consuming public….yet.

How does this Compare to Other States?

There are consumption lounges in other legal states like Colorado, California and Alaska. And in New Jersey, the rules look like they’ll be ready and licenses granted much faster than Massachusetts.

What’s the Future of Social Consumption in Massachusetts?

The 2016 ballot question that legalized adult marijuana use in Massachusetts envisioned social consumption sites, but these locations aren’t yet a reality. The rulemaking process is slow, and a lot of different people need to weigh in. But the good news is that the state’s Cannabis Control Commission is exploring new ways to make cannabis cafes happen. They’ve scrapped a pilot program initially limiting social consumption establishments to 12 communities, to instead focus on developing a broader licensing framework.

Why Does Social Consumption Matter? 

The reality is that for a lot of people, the excitement of legalization is still dampened by the reality of restrictions. For anyone in publicly financed housing, or in private residences with cannabis consumption forbidden in the lease, they can’t consume at home – and it’s still not legal in Massachusetts to consume cannabis in public like on the street or in a park.

Social consumption lounges provide a solution to this problem. They also open up the exciting possibility of lounges with purposefully curated experiences and settings that can significant shape and elevate your high.

So, What Does the Future Hold?

This vision of cannabis lounges isn’t just a pipe dream—it’s a glimpse of the near future. So if you’re an East Coaster, whether you’re a cannabis consumer in New Jersey looking forward to this reality or a Massachusetts resident awaiting these changes, stay tuned. The experience of buying and enjoying cannabis in a social setting could soon be part of your reality.

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