Long before anyone even thought about the possibility of legalizing marijuana for recreational use, or even medical marijuana in the U.S., cannabis has been legal in Amsterdam. This led many college students to travel to the city and visit the fabled coffee shops where they could not only purchase marijuana, but could sit at the bar and smoke a joint, or “spliff” like a civilized person without the fear of being harassed or arrested by the police. For this reason, Amsterdam was for decades the world’s leading destination for marijuana tourism.
When legalized recreational use marijuana came to Colorado, other western states, and now California as well, the concept of cannabis tourism became possible in the U.S. The problem, however, is while it is legal to go to one of these states and purchase marijuana, assuming you are over the legal age of 21, laws prohibiting public consumption of marijuana made anything other than the use of edibles very impractical. For anyone staying in a hotel, most are non-smoking entirely, and this also includes the use of marijuana products.
As our Los Angeles medical marijuana attorneys know, with very few places a tourist can legally smoke marijuana, it has resulted in a major setback in what could and should be a viable cannabis tourism industry. Those who come to area are still impressed by the large selection of quality products. But without the local equivalent to an Amsterdam coffee shop, the draw is not what it could be.
As discussed in a recent news article from the Mercury News, this is about to change as West Hollywood is becoming the first city in Los Angeles County to allow the existence of what are locally being called marijuana lounges. The law still prohibits smoking cannabis products in public places, but it does allow private landowners to choose whether to allow marijuana to be consumed on their respective properties. At first, this included the so-called bud and breakfasts, but despite the appealing nature of these establishments, they have actually proven to be few and far between.
There are still regulations that must be followed, including the prohibition of alcohol and tobacco products in the same location where marijuana is to be consumed, as well as a prohibition on operating a marijuana lounge within 600 feet of a school. These and other regulations can be somewhat confusing so the best thing those in the recreational use marijuana industry, including those who are considering opening a marijuana lounge, should do is to speak with an experienced cannabis business lawyer about their intended ventures.
One other thing to keep in mind is these marijuana lounges are not only for tourists staying in hotels which prohibit smoking. Since individual landowners are allowed to decide whether marijuana can be smoked on their property, many private and corporate landlords have chosen to disallow marijuana use on their property. This also goes for any public housing or Section 8 dwellings where federal regulations prohibit the use of any illicit drugs. This includes the use of marijuana and other cannabis products. This means roughly half of all residents of our state cannot legally consume marijuana in their own homes.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients, defendants, workers and those facing criminal marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.
California cities start to slowly embrace marijuana lounges, March 16, 2016, By Brooke Staggs, Mercury News
More Blog Entries:
Small Marijuana Farmers Take State to Court, Feb. 7, 2018, L.A. Marijuana Lawyer Blog