Laws regarding cannabis are changing across the globe. Mexico passed medical marijuana laws in June 2017, Canada is charging fully into cannabis legalization by July 2018, Australia recently began experimenting with CBD, and legalization across the US is happening – either medically or recreational – state-by-state, one at a time.
We’ve all heard about the cannabis clubs and cafes of Amsterdam – where you can smoke marijuana, have an edible, or imbibe on some hash while sipping coffee and/or having a snack. The model, a seemingly logical extension of the user experience, has been largely overlooked in US states where marijuana has been legalized for medical or recreational use. In places like Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, marijuana laws prohibit the use of cannabis in public places, such as a street, park, school, or restaurant and are additionally burdened by indoor smoking restrictions adopted by the state government.
Adding to the problem: a lack of hotels or accommodation options openly allowing cannabis consumption. With more marijuana shops than places to legally consume, many visitors and residents end up breaking the law, consuming in public parks, streets, or alleyways just to enjoy the new legal freedom.
Joining a cannabis club can help legal weed get you legally high
In the few states where voters have chosen to legalize marijuana use for adults 21 and up, the laws often seek to replicate the alcohol industry. Except, of course, the federal law still only recognizes cannabis as a harmful narcotic, making the rules and regulations for marijuana businesses even more strict than your average bar or alcohol shop.
Not only has the continued federal status of cannabis as a Schedule I substance (the same category as heroin) allowed for strict licensing standards and high fees for businesses, banks and financial institutions. These places cannot lend money to marijuana businesses, and landlords/rental companies can typically include clauses in their lease agreements barring anyone living on the property (or their guests) from smoking marijuana.
Cannabis clubs and smoking lounges, then, have obvious appeal for both residents and visitors. Not only do they help funnel cannabis consumption out of public view – from alleyways, parks, and other public places – into a business, they give cannabis users a place to come and socialize while imbibing their preferred weed product. Cannabis clubs help normalize marijuana use by creating an environment like that of a bar or smoking lounge. This effectively positions cannabis clubs as an emblem of the changing cultural views of cannabis use – medically or recreationally – nationwide.
Looking to use a nice dab rig? Cannabis clubs have them!
Maybe you have been vaporizing those sweet, sweet cannabis oils, waxes, and crumbles on a sad, dirty rig. Maybe you’ve been meaning to get to the head shop but always justify just rolling a joint instead. Maybe you just want to smoke up with a bounty of consumption utensils in a social environment. Cannabis clubs have you covered.
Papers, bongs, dab rigs, e-nails, rolling machines, and all the proper smoking utensils are available within the club – often at no additional cost to you.
From the state, down to the city government, lawmakers must ask how – and if – they want to allow cannabis clubs to exist. For example, Washington state does not allow cannabis clubs to legally exist, yet neighboring Oregon has several cannabis clubs operating (though not technically as licensed marijuana establishments – YET). Colorado marijuana laws similarly require marijuana use to be neither public nor open.
In November 2016, Denver passed Ordinance 300, requiring city officials to create a system of licensing businesses as places where marijuana can be used legally, as current law is remarkably unclear as to what a public place is or what constitutes “open”. This unique challenge often forces cannabis clubs in the U.S. (and in Canada) to operate while walking on legal eggshells – for now at least.
Try new products and meet new people
Cannabis clubs and social lounges arise from the same social needs people have for bars, restaurants, and other social environments for consuming something or other. We are social animals, after all. Sitting down and having a meal with someone, sharing tea, a joint, or even a conversation stimulates the release of chemicals within the brain. Add in some cannabis to this social recipe and you are feeding this basic human need from on high.
Cannabis clubs are a perfect place to get together with friends or meet new people. Several clubs I have personally been to have the night come to an end with me trying a number of different strains, waxes, and edible products – things I did not bring with me. That is not to say these places provide or sell cannabis or cannabis-infused products (in Vancouver, BC they do!); rather, these places have a social etiquette to them. It is almost a tit-for-tat social structure, as in:
Person 1: “Hey, you want a hit?”
Person 2: “Sure.”
Person 2: “You want to try this?”
Person 1: “Absolutely.”
Though obviously a simplistic look at the true value of these interactions – themselves often spawning into versatile conversation – this back and forth has consistently left my visits to cannabis clubs around the country in a state of foggy contentment, a happy social environment elevated by a joint experience.
What else could you want?
By Joey Wells