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Massachusetts Lawmakers Contemplate Cannabis Clubs


The debate on whether to allow cannabis clubs or not has been a hot topic in states where recreational use of cannabis is legal. In Colorado, Washington, and Oregon, many establishments have been shut down since there are no regulations to govern such businesses. In Alaska, they had planned to implement a plan to allow a “consumption area” within licensed dispensaries with an endorsement – but this has yet to be done.

However, it is something that cannabis activists and advocates have been asking for – with a number of legitimate reasons. In Denver, a citizen’s initiative passed that will soon allow local businesses to obtain a license to allow on-site consumption of cannabis, being the first law of its kind in a state that allows for adult use of cannabis.

It appears that a couple of the more recent states to legalize the herb have seen the sense behind allowing cannabis clubs in one form or another, as both Nevada and now Massachusetts are looking into allowing this to become reality.

“The package store model is old fashioned and the consumer really wants an outlet, a place to consume cannabis and do it safely,” Michael Latulippe, an official with the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance and a member of the Cannabis Advisory Board, said.

Latulippe provided a subcommittee of the Cannabis Advisory Board with recommendations on how to incorporate social consumption – and the Cannabis Control Commission is expected to incorporate into its draft regulations for the legal cannabis industry.

“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 said Tuesday. “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.”

Cannabis clubs in Massachusetts are being modeled after bars and cigar bars, for the most part. The plan would also likely include several different tiers of licensing – to include different consumption methods like inhalation, ingestion and dermal application, and one license that would include all of these. This would allow for more specific types of businesses – like massage therapy – to incorporate cannabis without requiring a license for all forms of consumption.

Another recommendation made to the Cannabis Control Commission was to require strong air quality, odor control, and air filtration systems for any designated smoking areas to protect employees from secondhand smoke. It was also suggested to sett up limits on what would be considered a single-serving package, and allow budtenders to cut people off if they appear impaired, just like in bars.

It seems that the states to most recently legalize cannabis are seeing the potential benefits of allowing cannabis clubs and similar businesses – which activists have been pointing out since Colorado and Washington first passed their legalization initiatives. Giving adults a safe place to consume cannabis outside of a private residence is essential – and the importance was clearly not lost on cannabis regulators in Massachusetts.