Are Proposed Seattle Cannabis Lounges the Precursor to a Starbucks of Weed?

NEW YORK (MainStreet) - The city attorney of Seattle, Pete Holmes, is becoming a public supporter of cannabis clubs as a way to enforce elements of Washington State's recreational pot law (I-502). The measure, which legalizes recreational sales and use, also prohibits smoking marijuana in public.

This idea is a legislative fix downstream to attempt to solve potential I-502 problems that could arise as recreational use becomes established in the state and oversights in the original law are identified. The advent of these ganja lounges will give tourists and people who live in rental properties where the consumption of marijuana is still banned a legal place to smoke marijuana.

Cannabis clubs have already opened legally in Colorado.

"This type of club has been talked about since December 2012, since I-502 became law," said Kevin Oliver, executive director of Washington National Organization for the Reform for Marijuana Laws (NORML). "The state legislature could potentially modify the law to allow for adult use clubs, sans sales, just a place where it was legal for adults to smoke marijuana. I believe the rationale is, as long as we can have bars and designated smoking area for cigarettes, we should be able to have a smoking lounge for adult use marijuana."

The proposed rules so far call for age restrictions, ventilation requirements and a vaporizer-only policy. What's more, alcohol is banned. One of the more interesting questions, however, is if promotion of this kind of destination would encourage people, particularly recreational users, to drive too soon after getting high at a public, non-residential spot they must leave.

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