A Water Street social club opened on Friday and for $50/month, patrons can smoke marijuana. Since The Summit Lounge is not a public business, it does not fall under the social consumption businesses regulations that have not even been set yet by the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission.
Massachusetts voters approved recreational marijuana use and sales in the ballot box in 2016. Rules are set to be implemented that would make recreational marijuana available to consumers this summer. The state has also authorized the eventual existence of cannabis lounges, but the Cannabis Control Commission is holding off on implementing those rules until after they figure out how to regulate cannabis sales.
The Water Street lounge is open to members who pay $50 per month for access to the private club. Once inside, members can smoke marijuana and tobacco, rent pipes and bongs, enjoy a few snacks and play video games on a variety of available consoles. The club doesn’t sell any marijuana or alcohol.
The club opened its doors the same day the Massachusetts District Attorneys Association sent a letter to the Cannabis Control Commission warning that social consumption businesses in Massachusetts “greatly increase the risks to public safety.”
Because it is not a public business, The Summit Lounge is not covered by the commission’s oversight.
In a statement, Worcester City Manager Edward M. Augustus said the city is asking the CCC to put regulations in place for private clubs.
“The occupant of 116 Water Street (The Summit Lounge) did not disclose to the city that he would be operating a private club for the purpose of marijuana consumption. He has exploited a loophole in the 2017 Marijuana Act as well as the draft regulation,” Augustus’ statement read.
The interior of The Summit Lounge looks similar to the marijuana cafes people can find in Amsterdam, that has offered recreational marijuana for decades. Will Worcester city officials succeed in shutting down The Summit Lounge? Is it even worth shutting it down since recreational marijuana sales begin this summer?