Today, hundreds of consultations were collected to be presented to the ministry in charge of legalization on March 5th, and cannabis lounges from across Ontario participated. The day featured everything from open houses for politicians and police, comedy shows, and even tacos at some dispensaries.
According to Sensible Ontario‘s press release, when the government launched its consultation on Jan. 18, it proposed “cannabis-friendly hotel rooms and other places of use” and said it would consider licensed cannabis lounges. This was hailed by cannabis advocates as a big step forward, but no timeline has been set for the actual licensing of cannabis lounges.
Sensible Ontario advocates for licensed cannabis lounges and private storefronts because, as the law currently stands, smoking will be restricted to private residences and the Liquor Control Board of Ontario will be handling all cannabis retail. But being restricted to only smoking at home will cause inevitable conflicts with the no-smoking policies of many apartments and condos, which will leave many with nowhere to go unless they want to risk eviction, fines, or worse.
That’s why Sensible Ontario is fighting for “opportunities to license a cannabis equivalent to bars and restaurants”.
John Lietdke, the owner of the Higher Limits lounge in Windsor, doesn’t think the government is going far enough:
“The province should immediately be investigating onsite sale licenses to allow for lounges to sell cannabis the way that bars and restaurants sell alcohol for onsite consumption.”
If cannabis is going to be treated like alcohol, it makes sense to have licensed lounges that sell cannabis. Imagine if every bar and restaurant was BYOB (although admittedly, that would be much cheaper). If cannabis lounges do get permission to sell cannabis onsite, it would be interesting to see if a dispensary‘s $5 pre-roll suddenly becomes $10 at a lounge.
Cannabis lounges offer more than just a location to consume. It’s an opportunity to be a part of the community, hang out, and just have a little fun. That’s why Ontario needs cannabis lounges.