The Berkeley City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday night to change the city’s municipal code to allow on-site cannabis consumption in lounges at storefront retailers that install a ventilation system.
The vote also legalizes up to seven cannabis delivery services in Berkeley.
Before the meeting, city staff members recommend that the council allow cannabis consumption at lounges because such consumption is prohibited in public, in most businesses and in many apartments.
In a report to the council, staff members wrote, “Providing a place to consume cannabis legally is important for patients who have no other options.”
However, the Berkeley Community Health Commission opposed allowing consumption at lounges because of the risk of secondary exposure to cannabis smoke and vapor and the risk of impaired driving.
The commission said it believes public consumption of cannabis would undermine city policies that promote smoke-free air and that reduce the social normalization of smoking.
But the measure was supported by the Berkeley Patients Group, which was established in 1999 and says it’s the nation’s oldest cannabis dispensary.