Cannabis consumption lounges could be coming to British Columbia.
In a statement Wednesday, the Union Of BC Municipalities (UBCM) explains the province is looking into the possibility of allowing cannabis consumption spaces.
“The BC Cannabis Secretariat plans to engage broadly with key stakeholders, including UBCM’s Cannabis Policy Technical Working Group, in the fall, with formal public and stakeholder engagement in 2022,” reads the statement.
The province is in the midst of discussions with the cannabis industry in regards to developing the farmgate program, set for 2022. At the same time, B.C. is having preliminary talks about recreational consumption spaces at farmgate sites.
B.C.’s current cannabis laws don’t allow for consumption spaces, whether it’s lounges, tasting rooms or special events. UBCM says it has brought up this issue before as part of its work to “inform the development of the provincial non-medical cannabis framework.”
In 2017, UBCM expressed support over developing consumption spaces in licensed establishments.
“Cannabis cultivators have emphasized that the viability of farmgate sales would be limited without the ability to offer tourism and hospitality experiences to attract visitors,” reads the statement. “There has also been increasing interest in non-medical cannabis consumption spaces from cannabis, tourism and hospitality sectors as a means to help support economic recovery and increase the competitiveness of the legal cannabis market.”
Any policy change would continue to focus on the province’s priorities of public health and safety, protecting children and youth, road safety as well as reducing the illicit weed market. Along with those principles, UBCM notes the following measures must be met:
- prohibit indoor smoking and vaping in public establishments;
- prohibit minors in cannabis consumption spaces;
- address drug-affected driving;
- prevent involvement of organized crime;
- discourage co-use of cannabis and alcohol; and
- require local and Indigenous government recommendations prior to the province authorizing cannabis sales.
We’ve learned that if you break unjust laws long enough and demonstrate their futility, as well as show why exactly the law is unjust, the lawmakers could eventually come around https://t.co/RW3paVbOe5
— Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club (@VCBCtweets) August 26, 2021
Indoor cannabis consumption lounges aren’t allowed in Canada. However, some spaces have been operating outside laws for decades, including Vancouver’s New Amsterdam Cafe.
Non-profit compassion society the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club deems its on-site consumption space as essential to its operations, but it temporarily shut down the space during the pandemic.
Provincial and territorial regulations, as well as municipal bylaws, currently restrict consumption lounges in most jurisdictions.
Ontario and the City of Edmonton have looked into allowed consumption lounges, but those wouldn’t include smoking or vaping.
An Ontario café has found a way to run an open-air consumption lounge that still abides by the province’s smoking regulations.
On the other hand, Alberta allowed a recent exemption in The Tobacco, Smoking and Vaping Reduction Act which made it possible for indoor cigar lounges to open but not cannabis consumption café.
South of the border, cannabis consumption lounges are allowed in multiple states and some cities.
Read more: Nevada allows weed consumption lounges