The cannabis industry is booming, and St. Louis is looking to get in on the action. As more states move toward legalization and decriminalization of marijuana–both for medical use and recreational use–the potential for lounges that permit cannabis consumption has grown as well.
St. Louis city officials are currently working on a plan to open public cannabis consumption lounges, joining many cities like Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, and Denver that have already taken this step. The idea is to build out a full array of public accommodations for marijuana users in the same way other industries, such as alcohol, are given access to public bars and cafés per the St. Louis Dispatch.
Background of Cannabis in Missouri
The move by St. Louis city officials to create cannabis consumption lounges comes after a series of legislative initiatives in the state that have made marijuana more accessible over the years.
In 2013, Missouri decriminalized possession of cannabis, meaning that those caught with small amounts did not face jail time. Then, in 2018, the passage of a state constitutional amendment paved the way for legally growing and selling of cannabis for medical use.
Just recently, in 2022, Missouri passed a law that legalized cannabis for recreational use by individuals 21 years of age and older. This has further helped boost the industry in the region, bringing new retailers, industrial facilities, and jobs.
Now, St. Louis is taking the next step by looking to open licensed cannabis consumption lounges and potentially become a leader in the region’s emerging marijuana industry.
Potential Benefits of Consumption Lounges
Allowing cannabis consumption lounges in St. Louis could bring several potential benefits to the city.
First, it would add additional tax dollars to the city. The lounges could generate sales and excise taxes for the city for necessary services such as public safety and infrastructure projects.
It would provide a boost for local entrepreneurs and businesses. Lounges could be owned and operated by locals who want to get into the cannabis industry, creating new jobs and opportunities in the process.
Having designated public spaces where individuals age 21 or older can safely consume cannabis without fear of legal repercussions is essential in ensuring access for all. It also allows for better regulation and enforcement of cannabis rules and regulations while providing a safe space for recreational use.
Also, The potential for cannabis consumption lounges to bring in visitors from across the region is considerable. Missouri dispensaries have already seen people coming from out-of-state to avoid restrictions in Kansas and Arkansas or the higher taxes in Illinois. Allowing consumption lounges could further increase this influx of customers, bringing additional economic benefits in the form of tourism dollars as well.
Details on Plan
As part of the plan to open cannabis consumption lounges in St. Louis, city officials are currently working on addressing health and safety concerns. This includes working out air quality issues by establishing lounging ventilation standards that ensure a healthy and safe environment for all patrons.
In addition, city officials are looking into certain restrictions pertaining to consumption lounges, a spokesman for Mayor Tishaura O. Jones said via the St. Louis Dispatch; they are working through clean air health concerns and distance requirements from places such as schools, child care centers, and places of worship.
The details are still being worked out, but it is clear that the city is taking this plan seriously and is committed to ensuring that cannabis lounges are safe and compliant with all regulations.
A potential model for the cannabis consumption lounges in St. Louis could be based on some of the successful examples seen around the world, such as Amsterdam’s coffee shops. These lounges are known for providing a safe and comfortable environment for cannabis use while offering food and beverage options alongside marijuana products.
In St. Louis, there could be similar businesses popping up that provide a space for adults 21+ to consume cannabis in addition to enjoying their favorite local eats. This could include tie-ins with restaurants or cafes to offer THC-infused entrees. Or, it could simply be a space for adults to consume cannabis products without having to leave the premises after purchase. Which is not currently allowed at licensed dispensaries.
Whatever form they take, it is clear that these lounges could provide a great benefit to both the city and its citizens–allowing St. Louisans to safely and legally consume cannabis with peace of mind.
Already Have Some Establishments in Missouri
It is important to note that lounges for cannabis consumption have been present in St. Louis for the past three years, albeit not in a licensed capacity. This means that there needs to be a concerted effort to ensure these new lounges comply with safety and regulatory standards.
The good news is that the city has already seen what works and what doesn’t over the past three years, so it should be easier to establish regulations to ensure all users’ safety. It is also important to note that many existing lounges have operated without significant issues, showing that this concept can work.
Overall, St. Louis is taking a proactive approach to legalizing cannabis consumption lounges. By doing so, they are sending a message that they are committed to meeting the needs of their citizens in terms of safe and responsible access to cannabis use–something that could bring significant benefits to the city and its residents.
Plus, it will be exciting to see how these lounges evolve in terms of offerings and experiences, providing a unique opportunity for individuals aged 21+ to enjoy cannabis use in a safe and regulated environment. It is an exciting development that should pave the way for other cities across America looking into establishing similar programs.