As Mass. debates marijuana cafes, Colorado’s burgeoning scene offers insights – The Boston Globe

Caleb Berry reclined on his yoga mat next to cannabis joints during a Secret Stash yoga session Sunday.(Mark Reis for The Boston Globe)

The 11 states with legal recreational pot are grappling with how to handle public and social consumption. As in Massachusetts, people in Colorado are barred from smoking, vaping, or eating pot products anywhere besides private homes. That can pose a challenge for tourists, renters, and public housing residents who have nowhere to legally consume a legal substance.

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Complaints about the smell of marijuana on streets were among the reasons cited by Colorado Governor Jared Polis for signing legislation to allow tasting rooms. Soon, customers will be able to buy pot products in dispensaries, then smoke, vape, or eat them in a room or patio next door.

Nevada, Alaska, and California have also approved cafes in some form.

In Massachusetts, regulators are moving cautiously on pot cafes after health and law enforcement officials in Governor Charlie Baker’s administration mounted opposition last year over concerns about increased cannabis consumption and stoned driving.

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The Cannabis Control Commission in May approved draft regulations for a pilot program that would allow pot lounges to be licensed in 12 cities or towns that want them. But Secretary of State William Galvin said the Legislature must first clarify how municipalities can opt in. Baker has said the pilot “would make a lot of sense.”

Commissioner Shaleen Title said unregulated lounges already exist, so adding rules and oversight will enhance public health and safety.

“It’s sort of a paradox right now that a substance is legal, but there’s no place that you’re allowed to use it besides your own home,” Title said. “The pilot program is a big step forward for treating consumers like people who are doing something

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