Hitting the club may soon have a different meaning entirely in the state of Massachusetts.
The state, which will begin selling recreational marijuana in July, is toying with the idea of “cannabis clubs” upon legalization. A Cannabis Advisory Board subcommittee recommended the notion on Tuesday, and it could lead to the development of social cannabis lounges where patrons can buy and smoke cannabis, similar to bars that serve alcohol.
“The package store model is old fashioned and the consumer really wants an outlet, a place to consume cannabis and do it safely,” said Cannabis Advisory Board member Michael Latulippe,
Regulators believe that the existence of social lounges would reduce the risk of children getting their hands on the drug, while also limiting the amount of weed illegally conveyed out of the state. Additionally, onsite consumption would provide safe, legal locations for tourists staying in hotels, as well as for renters who are disallowed from smoking in their apartments.
“By having these onsite facilities, we could potentially alleviate the need for some parents to go home with the cannabis themselves, allow them to consume it on site,” Latulippe explained. “It also alleviates the issue of interstate trafficking with tourists and people who are going to be coming to the state. Requiring them to buy large quantities of cannabis could cause for some problems.”
Latulippe suggested different levels of licensing, similar to regulations in the tobacco and alcohol industries, for varying levels of cannabis consumption in shops.
“We could develop tiered licensing, in a sense similar to how alcohol is managed in terms of wine and beer, and hard liquors already for bar establishments. Basically, this tiered licensing type would include inhalation, ingestion and dermal application as well as one retailer license that would encompass all types of marijuana consumption,” he said. “There are so many businesses possible in terms of consumption of marijuana. We don’t want to limit it to just inhalation. There’s a lot of, for instance, massage therapy places that want to incorporate dermal application of marijuana products.”
Final Hit: Massachusetts Considers Legalizing Cannabis Clubs
In addition to tiered licensing, there would feasibly have to be a basic set of regulations regarding cannabis consumption in social clubs, much like at a bar or nightclub.
The subcommittee recommended several basic guidelines to the Cannabis Control Commission which would help regulate consumption. Among them, was a suggested serving size for patrons, a maximum number of servings allowed for immediate use, and a set maximum daily exposure limit, where a budtender could choose to cut off a customer as they see fit.
The CCC says they will have a meeting every day next week to hammer out a set of regulations, which are expected to include cannabis club mandates. The committee hopes to have a draft of regulations ready by December 29.