Marijuana has been legal in Washington for almost three years, with recreational marijuana sales in Oregon ready to begin October 1st. However, Portland has just reopened the World Famous Cannabis Cafe, a place for people 21 years of age and older to smoke with others while Washington still has no place like this. Wait, why doesn’t Washington have a similar cafe for smokers to come together to enjoy legal pot and good company in a bar-like setting?
About two years ago, Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes asked the state liquor control board to allow private clubs for people to smoke in. A major reason behind this push was for tourists to have a place to smoke the legal pot they purchase. Smoking inside marijuana shops and in public is not legal. Of course, Washington residents are allowed to smoke in the privacy of their homes; however, those who rent a home must abide by the contracts of their rental agreement. Holmes was hoping to help tourists and renters with this measure though his proposal was not accepted.
The World Famous Cannabis Cafe provides numerous smoking devices and social ambiance and all that is required of patrons is $10 at the door as well as their own marijuana. In Oregon, recreational marijuana is only sold in small quantities at medical marijuana stores, as there are no recreational-only stores until sometime in 2016. Citizens are also allowed to grow up to four of their own marijuana plants. Consumers are legally able to partake in the privacy of their own homes, or on private property. In terms of obtaining recreational marijuana, Washington makes it a bit easier at this point but still falls behind in public consumption.
Colorado is home to numerous marijuana clubs, where members can go to enjoy pot together. Like The World Famous Cannabis Cafe, patrons pay an admission fee and bring their own marijuana. Colorado Amendment 64 prohibits public consumption of marijuana, but private pot dens are legal because they do not sell marijuana, nor do they sell any food or drinks. These clubs were created so that people may gather and smoke marijuana indoors without fear of legal retaliation from landlords or law enforcement. They are the answer to the wishes of renters and tourists.
Opposite the other states’ admissible pot dens, Washington cracked down on establishments that allowed marijuana consumption on the premises when recreational marijuana was first legalized. The government explicitly stated the reason for this was because the law clearly states that consuming marijuana in public was illegal, and restaurants and bars are public places. Though, Colorado and Oregon both have similar laws and allow marijuana consumption in private buildings which don’t sell marijuana, food, or drinks.
So, why is it that Colorado and Oregon have bars for people to smoke marijuana, but Washington does not? All three states prohibit the public consumption of marijuana though two of the three allow private pot den operations as long as they do not sell marijuana or food. It is likely only a matter of time before Washington lawmakers ease up and allow marijuana clubs to establish. Until then, it is up to the marijuana consumers of the state to keep asking for leniency in the law so everyone, including renters ad tourists, can enjoy their legally bought marijuana indoors with the company of other consumers.
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