Marijuana tourism in San Francisco has recently become a lot easier, and potentially more profitable. Nicole Elliott, San Francisco’s marijuana “czar” says once city health officials finalize regulations, new permits for on-site consumption will be issued. The regulations are designed to protect workers from secondhand smoke and neighborhoods from lingering marijuana odors.
While it’s becoming increasingly easier to obtain legal marijuana, it hasn’t exactly become easier for people to consume it. Especially tourists who find that they still can smoke their legally purchased product in federally funded areas. But places like the Barbary Coast lounge, one of the first consumption lounges to open, are working to change that.
Currently, only California allows consumption at dispensaries with specially designed lounges. And so far, San Francisco is the only city in the state to embrace them, but that won’t be for long. The cities of West Hollywood, Alameda, Oakland, and South Lake Tahoe are currently issuing plans to approve lounge licenses. Other places like Los Angeles and Sacramento are discussing the issues but have no current plans to authorize any lounges.
The short answer is, they aren’t. Take Massachusetts, for example. The state considered “Cannabis cafes,” but the proposals came under harsh criticism by the governor and law enforcement officials claiming such businesses would “lead to more dangerous stoned drivers,” among other things. Plans to license any cafes will wait until this summer, when the rollout of retail marijuana operations begin.
Colorado comes in a close second when it comes to on-site consumption. Though legalizing “tasting rooms” failed in a close vote, many cities still partake. Denver has even authorized consumption lounges where consumers bring their own marijuana. Only one permit has been issued so far.
The Barbary of today is not what it used to be. Once run-down, there are now two other dispensaries with smoke lounges. The gentrifying neighborhood has turned vacant buildings into hip restaurants and living spaces, making it a place for people to go and enjoy a little community feeling.
Jesse Henry, General Manager, explained that the Barbary’s owners plan to open a larger store and more smoke lounges once city health officials finalize regulations for on-site consumption.
He tells the Associated Press, “This city is built for tourists. We put a lot of work into giving them a San Francisco experience.”
Quotes and information about this story were sourced by the Associated Press marijuana coverage.