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Listen Up: It’s Time to Legalize Cannabis Lounges

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Photo courtesy of Drug Policy Alliance

Joint Opinions

Listen Up: It’s Time to Legalize Cannabis Lounges

Using cannabis with your friends is safer and more desirable than solo use, yet modern legalization offers no public bars for weed smokers.

It’s time to legalize weed lounges, says Cannabis Now magazine content editor Ellen Holland, who delves into the issue in a new perspective piece for popular, influential San Francisco podcast, The Hash, Wednesday.

Legalization in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Washington DC did not include the rights to assemble in public and enjoy the herb.

Yet expert journalist Holland notes that “smoking cannabis with others is actually less harmful than being holed in your hotel room on a bad trip.”

The Brookings Institute has observed that bans on smoking at bars or lounges perversely incentivize unsupervised consumption.

Consequently, emergency room visits where patients have mentioned marijuana have gone up in Colorado for tourists, while staying the same for locals.

[Listen to the The Hash’s ‘Let’s Talk About Legalizing Social Smoking Clubs‘ by clicking on the embed below]

“Smoking lounges — whether open to adult use or medical patients can stand as models of responsible cannabis consumption. Employees and patients can help new users learn how to smoke marijuana at a rate that brings them to a comfortable high and unlike edibles … smoking cannabis allows a user to understand almost instantaneously just how high they are getting,” Holland said.

Experts have written about about alcohol prohibition drove up problem drinking by driving social use underground.

Furthermore, it’s natural for people to want to enjoy ganja together. The first uses of medical marijuana in the United States involved places where patients gathered to consume together, like Dennis Peron’s Castro Castle, or the early Berkeley Patients Group facility.

Oakland’s newest licensed lounge at Magnolia Wellness is open for private events and working on a public launch. Club directors note that the lounge’s driver safety plan is more strict than any bar.

San Francisco features a number of vapor lounges and one of its newest clubs, Urban Pharm, features an open-flame-permitted lounge allowing smoking.

But San Francisco and Oakland remain some of the only places in California which specifically license on-site consumption of medical marijuana. For many activists, it comes down to a basic right of adult cannabis users to assemble.

Over in Colorado, the first fully legal lounges may be coming. Denver citizens vote on Question 300 to allow limited social use of legal cannabis on Nov. 8.

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