Recreational marijuana is legal in Canada and parts of the US, but for the most part its not allowed in public spaces
With recreational marijuana legal in 10 US states and Canada, tens of millions of adults can go to a store and buy a joint. But outside their homes, there are few places where those clients can legally smoke it.
Clouds of pot smoke float around North America’s biggest cities, but for the most part it’s not allowed in public spaces, and there hasn’t been a profusion of Amsterdam-style coffee shops or other industries where someone can consume a legal drug.
But that could be changing.
Denver’s first legal consumption lounge, The Coffee Joint, opened last year. Its co-owner Rita Tsalyuk described it as a” Starbucks on steroids “. It expenses$ 5 to enter if you plan to consume- though entrance is otherwise free- and while the shop itself can’t sell cannabis, it’s attached to a licensed dispensary. The space hosts video game and movie nights, singles mixers, yoga and industry events.
On a busy day about 50 people come in. That’s not Starbucks traffic, and Tsalyuk said consumption lounges would struggle to stay open unless they find more revenue streams, like selling cannabis or alcohol. Bars in Denver and elsewhere have also expressed interest in selling cannabis, but so far, at least, establishments selling both intoxicants are hard to find. One entrepreneur hoped to open a cannabis spa in Denver but her proposed location was deemed too close to a school.
In legal cities one can also find gray-market shops where it’s possible for customers to bring their own cannabis, relax on sofas, watch TV or have a cup of coffee. It’s a nice notion, but without the ability to sell cannabis, they can struggle to survive as a business, even if they avoid get shut down by police.
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