Imagine a cannabis café where diners can buy a marijuana-infused drink or snack. Or an outdoor concert where marijuana joints are sold and smoking is allowed.
This could one day become reality in Massachusetts. The Cannabis Control Commission on Thursday narrowly approved a policy that ultimately could allow marijuana to be sold at cafes and public events.
By a 3-2 vote, commissioners approved a framework for a social consumption pilot program, even as they warned that it will be a long time before the pilot actually goes forward, if at all.
“There is a strong desire to have this,” said Chairman Steven Hoffman. “I believe it’s the will of the people.”
The commission’s nine-person working group, tasked with crafting rules for social consumption, released a memo Thursday that envisions a pilot program, which would allow social consumption in up to 12 cities and towns. However, the policy still requires regulatory approval, legislative action and interest from municipalities.
Social consumption would give people a space to buy and consume marijuana legally outside of a home, similar to buying drinks at a bar. Advocates for allowing social consumption say it will let people use marijuana if they live in public housing, rent their home or live in any environment where smoking marijuana is forbidden.
Allowing social consumption could stop people from smoking on the street and could provide structure to an industry that already exists underground, for example with marijuana-infused dinners.
“Many (municipalities) are really supporting this because the events are already happening in their cities and towns, and they don’t know how to handle them,” said commissioner and working group member Shaleen Title. “They’d rather they be regulated.”
At the same time, law enforcement and public safety officials have raised concerns about an increase in drugged driving, the danger of overconsumption