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San Francisco Embraces Amsterdam-Style Pot Lounges

By Sean McCaughan
Mar 16, 2018

Here’s a scene that could easily be an Amsterdam ‘Coffee Shop” (the local nomenclature for marijuana cafe) or a San Francisco steakhouse:

“The smoke was thick and business brisk at the Barbary Coast Dispensary's marijuana smoking lounge, a darkened room that resembles a steakhouse or upscale sports tavern with its red leather seats, deep booths with high dividers, and hardwood floors.”

However, this quote from U.S. News & World Report describes neither, or both in a way. It’s a lounge at a San Francisco marijuana dispensary, one of the few places in the United States that is allowing Amsterdam-style marijuana ‘coffee shops’ or lounges to operate.

In the united states, purchasing recreational marijuana is increasingly easy but finding someplace to consume is it becoming harder as local municipalities enact strict public consumption laws, and some places like Vermont are even considering it a public nuisance, like cigarette smoke or loud music.

Of all the states with legal recreational marijuana, only California permits marijuana smoking at marijuana retailers, reports U.S. News & World Report. However, it does allow cities to enact local restrictions further limiting its use, as some have. Cities in California that will allow consumption at retail dispensaries include West Hollywood, which will allow up to eight, Alameda will allow two, and Oakland and South Lake each have one lounge. Meanwhile, Sacramento, L.A., and other cities are discussing the idea but have not authorized any lounges.

San Francisco is, no surprise, leading the way. The city has always allowed medical users to consume while in dispensaries since medical marijuana was legalized in 1996, a practice which has expanded to recreational users since recreational use and consumption was broadly legalized in the state in January, although as with many cities in California, the finer points of the law are still being worked out. Reports U.S. News:

San Francisco's marijuana "czar" Nicole Elliot said new permits will be issued once city health officials finalize regulations designed to protect workers from secondhand smoke and the neighborhood from unwelcomed odors. The lounges are required to install expensive heating, ventilation

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