18 states have legalized recreational cannabis. However, smoking in public is still illegal in most of them.
But cannabis lounges – i.e., the cannabis equivalent of smoking rooms, but cooler – have started to pop up in states across the nation. Wondering where you can find one? We got the scoop.
What Are Cannabis Lounges?
Cannabis lounges are private-owned safe spaces where cannabis consumers can go to legally light up, providing an alternative to smoking or using cannabis in public. These spaces are often attached to licensed medical dispensaries or licensed recreational marijuana vendors for on-site cannabis consumption.
Think of cannabis lounges as bars or cafes that serve the same socializing aspect, but without the coffee, food, or alcohol. Instead, the experience that marijuana social clubs offer hinges on the consumption of cannabis and cannabis products.
Each marijuana lounge lays out its own rules for entry such as:
- A fee, based on how long you plan to use the space
- Required purchase of marijuana on site
- Permission to BYOC (bring your own cannabis)
Some marijuana clubs even offer additional perks to enhance your experience during your stay. These smokers’ lounges may have games, yoga, or even a big screen TV set up for you to enjoy.
States Where Cannabis Lounges Are Legal
Cannabis lounges are still a new concept, even for states that have legalized the recreational use of marijuana. Here are some of the states that have legalized or are planning to legalize cannabis lounges statewide.
In December of 2018, the Alaska Marijuana Control Board legalized on-site consumption for licensed marijuana retailers. These vendors may establish a dedicated cannabis consumption site. However, this legislation prohibits the use of cannabis concentrates, alcohol, and tobacco products in the same area.
The state of California allows local governments to decide whether on-site cannabis consumption in licensed cannabis cafes or lounges is permitted. So far, San Francisco is the leading city with at least seven cannabis lounges in the city. Oakland is the next leading in line.
As of 2019, Colorado permits on-site consumption of medical and retail marijuana in cannabis lounges or cafes, also referred to as retail marijuana hospitality sites. However, the legislation prohibits the sale of alcohol on the same premise. So far, you can find cannabis lounges in Denver.
As of October 1st, 2021, the state has opened up the opportunity for recreational cannabis vendors to apply for on-site cannabis consumption licenses. Cannabis lounges will likely start to pop up in 2022.
Licensed cannabis retailers and medical dispensaries may establish their own cannabis consumption area (CCA). However, vendors must obtain licenses from both state and local governments. Non-licensed cannabis vendors may not establish their own CCAs.
Cannabis lounges or cannabis consumption sites are to pop up in New York in the next few years. In fact, Jimmy Haber, the CEO of BLT Restaurant Group, plans to open one in the next two years.
Find a Cannabis Lounge Near You
You may find yourself in luck if you live in one of the above states where cannabis lounges are legal. Keep an eye out for ones near you, so you can experience smoking and socializing in a space where you don’t have to look over your shoulder.