The Social Consumption Trend

Social Consumption Across the Nation

Any cannabis user understands that they need a right to have safe and secure way to access their buds, but now we are realizing we also need legal safe spaces to consume as well.

While Colorado awaits Governor Polis’ signature on House Bill 1230, local cannabis consumers patiently wait for more options to consume in and at public venues. Since November 2016 when Denver voters approved Initiative 300, the public has been able to enjoy some special event consumption activities. The bill grants businesses the ability to apply for a license that allows for adult use in designated areas. Read my previous post about the headway in Colorado.


Denver Excise & Licenses has adopted final rules and regulations that govern the issuance and enforcement of the city’s new Cannabis Consumption Establishment and Cannabis Consumption Special Event licenses. While there are many ruffled feathers with House Bill 1230 allowing on site sales and consumption. 

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas has recently approved their version of social use lounges. Similar to Colorado, Vegas is a high tourist destination. Supporters noted that while it is legal to purchase marijuana from licensed dispensaries, there are very limited legal options for the millions of tourists visiting Las Vegas to lawfully consume the substance. Consequently it remains illegal to smoke or ingest marijuana in most hotels and public places, including casinos, bars, restaurants and on the street.


A 2016 ballot measure legalized adult-use marijuana in Massachusetts. This gave the Cannabis Commission Control the authority to license social consumption establishments. The agency decided to put it off until recently. However the pilot program that was approved this month still has to go through two more rounds of deliberation and approval before it can be implemented.


Currently in California, San Francisco has the most cannabis lounges, but Los Angeles may take the lead this year. Los Angeles County has been taking applications for social cannabis businesses since January 2018. Thankfully, these lounges are one of the few legal spots in the state where people can consume cannabis outside of their homes.


Meanwhile, in Oregon state legislators are working to change state laws to allow cannabis cafes and lounges. Because state law requires cannabis to be used in private, many consumers, including tourists and renters in smoke-free buildings, have no place to use cannabis products.


Consumption lounges have caused controversy in other legal states. It seems it’s mostly been a wait-and-see game for cannabis operators in Michigan. One exception is entrepreneur Anna Germaine. She has opened what’s billed as the state’s first cannabis use lounge just north of Flint.


Beginning in April, licensed marijuana dispensary owners in Alaska have been applying for a “special onsite use endorsement”. Their bill is similar to some provisions in Colorado’s bill. It will allow them to set up smoking areas where patrons will be permitted to smoke cannabis. The area must be distinct from retail space. There will likely be a patio or outdoor lounge where customers can smoke.

Who’s Next?

The cannabis train can not be stopped. It is a natural next step for supporters and consumers to want to enjoy the social aspect of marijuana. Therefore the more normalized use becomes, the more accepted public consumption will become. Let these first regions act as the examples. I am confident cannabis lounges and clubs will become as common as the local bar.

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