Are marijuana lounges the future of the recreational cannabis industry in New Jersey?
Marijuana social lounges could be a new hang-out spot for cannabis enthusiasts now that recreational marijuana is legal in New Jersey.
It would essentially be a licensed public place where adults can partake in marijuana use with other adults.
“The town and state commission, cannabis regulatory commission, have to approve the cannabis consumption area to operate within the space of a retail operation,” says attorney Bill Beneduce.
Since the legislation of legalized marijuana, some towns have already issued a ban on cannabis businesses. But Beneduce says that he is optimistic about the future of cannabusinesses in New Jersey.
“I think it’s going to be an exciting start to anti-prohibition to the marijuana industry. It’s going to be a big boom to the New Jersey industry. It’s going to change the state and a welcomed change,” he says.
One cannot get a consumption area license in New Jersey without getting a retail license. For cannabis consumption areas to operate under a retail license, they will have to stick to certain guidelines.
“There won’t be any ability to drink alcohol. There won’t be any ability to smoke cigarettes. No beer, no whiskey, no scotch. It will be focused strictly on cannabis,” Beneduce says. “It also won’t be able to operate as a food retail establishment, so you can’t sell food.”
Municipalities where these lounges pop up will also regulate their hours, where they set up shop and how they set up shop. Beneduce says towns with walkable downtown areas could benefit from the businesses.
“The towns that have a true downtown where people walk to local restaurants, local bars, where I think the concern about people getting behind the wheel and driving from a cannabis consumption area, more specifically, as well as anywhere associated with a marijuana establishment,” Beneduce says.
Under the legislation, anyone who wants to operate both a consumption area and a dispensary must have the areas separated by a wall so that when people go into the dispensary they don’t smell what is going on in the consumption area. If they're outdoors they can be sectioned off, no wall is needed, but they can't be visible from the sidewalk.