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Nice Forbes article on Cafes

Late last year, a group of state assemblymen and county commissioners from Nevada toured San Francisco’s cafes and lounges to see how they’re run. They are determined to push through legislation to allow cannabis cafes in their own state.

Massachusetts’ state government is partnering with cities interested in allowing places for “social consumption” of cannabis to create rules and study the impact of the businesses.

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. That means the state and its cities also will have to revise their current clean-air regulations, which were designed to protect the public from second-hand tobacco smoke.

New Jersey’s legalization bill includes provisions for bring-your-own social lounges and would allow hotels to designate up to 20% of their rooms as cannabis-friendly.

And in Canada, cities such as Calgary are starting the process of adapting land-use regulations and business licenses in preparation for cannabis cafes.

In California, San Francisco currently 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. West Hollywood, a small city tucked into the sprawling Los Angeles county, amended its municipal codes and zoning regulations to allow public consumption in designated cafes and smoking lounges. It began taking applications in April last year, and then, just before Christmas, announced it had granted 16 licenses for cannabis cafes. Half are for edibles-only cafes, and the other eight are for lounges which will allow smoking, vaping and edibles.

Another big move: West Hollywood will allow chefs to infuse cannabis into pre-planned and on-demand menus for onsite customers at new restaurants. As the cafes come online over the next 12 months, West Hollywood will have more than double the number of cafes and lounges of any other city.

In many states, these new regulations may have trouble passing through conservative legislatures. Seattle’s city attorney has been working for several years to find a way to allow cannabis lounges but has been stalled by Republican resistance in the state legislature. In an effort to derail pending legislation that would have made cannabis cafes and lounges legal, Republicans passed a bill in 2015 making it a felony to consume cannabis on the premises of any business.