Berkeley City Council Approves Marijuana Deliveries and Consumption Lounges
Earlier this week the Berkeley (CA) City Council approved ordinances which would legalize marijuana deliveries in addition to marijuana consumption lounges: The votes were unanimous.
As noted by High Times, under the changes, marijuana retail outlets will be able to allow on-site consumption of marijuana products if the business installs a required ventilation system. Prior to Tuesday’s meeting city staff had recommended that consumption lounges be approved by the council. “Under previous regulations, the use of cannabis was prohibited in public places, most businesses, and by many landlords, leaving many consumers and medical marijuana patients without a place to legally imbibe.”
“Providing a place to consume cannabis legally is important for patients who have no other options,” wrote city staff in a report to the council.
The measure approved on Tuesday also allows for up to seven marijuana delivery services to operate in the city and increases the areas of the city where commercial marijuana cultivation is permitted.
“The changes were supported by the Berkeley Patients Group, a cannabis dispensary that has been serving the local community since 1999”, states High Times. “Under the new regulations, the dispensary will have more space for its operations and be able to open a smoking lounge for its patrons. After the vote, the Berkeley Patients Group issued a statement applauding the changes approved by the city council.”
“We want to thank our city council members for their diligence and thoughtfulness,” the statement reads. “We’d also like to thank the staff, who spent three years researching and developing their prudent recommendations for a post-legalization world,” adding that Berkeley officials “have shaped the most progressive cannabis regulations in the country.”
Allowing cannabis consumption lounges in the city was opposed by the Berkeley Community Health Commission, which expressed concerns about secondhand exposure to marijuana smoke and vapor and the potential risk of drivers getting behind the wheel while high. The commission also said that allowing consumption lounges would be inconsistent with city initiatives to provide smoke-free environments and curb social acceptance of smoking. The relocation of Berkeley Patients Group was opposed by some city residents, including Carol Denney. The new site for the dispensary is located at one of the city’s busiest intersections and near a library and preschool.
“If they think that’s the best location, I wonder what a bad location is,” said Denney.” “Plus we got no notice for the neighbors of this business about this lounge.”