NJ marijuana dispensaries now allowed to create ‘consumption lounges’ with town approval
Marijuana dispensaries across New Jersey can now create a lounge space for customers to use the products after purchasing them.
For those who don’t want to smoke at home, this could be a big change since it is illegal to smoke cannabis in public. But the rules and regulations could have some dispensary owners saying it’s not worth it.
“The law does not allow you to have these consumption lounges to sell alcohol,” says attorney Jennifer Cabrera.
Cabrera is an attorney with Vicente Sederberg specializing in cannabis law. She says the dispensaries also can't sell food, which may be a deterrent for anyone looking to make money on food sales.
Customers can bring their own food inside.
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“I think it’s a real missed economic opportunity, honestly, to have these,” Cabrera says. “Most people – you get two puffs of a joint, and you’re good for a while. So, you’re not buying a lot of product.”
But despite the rules, regular customers at the Woodbridge dispensary say that not being able to purchase food or alcohol won’t be a problem.
Avenel resident Jamal Shelton says he believes sales would soar if the Woodbridge site were to create a lounge.
"They're already getting good business. So, I feel like they'd double that,” he says. “You could buy it, save some for home, chill for an hour with friends, talk, meet new people.
However, there is one more hurdle for dispensaries. They must get through the red tape and fees. Any lounge will need municipal approval.
“There is an incredible level of municipal control. The town has to opt into a consumption lounge,” Cabrera says.
It was not clear if customers would be able to bring their own marijuana into the lounges. This might be up to each dispensary.
Six other states have approved consumption lounges.