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Little Lounge Big Dream

( Pictured above is The Summit Lounge Worcester, Massachusetts )

When growing up as a young adult my dreams were vivid-yet far imaginary.  Social spaces lurked the public realm with the smell of cannabis coming out of maine-street establishments. I dreamt of the relaxed vibes of an amsterdam coffee shop, I wanted the upbeat and posh feel that the Spanish Hashish lounges bredd, and too, the simplistic, yet ritualistic scene of sessions with rastafarians in Jamaica. But more than anything, I dreamt up a cultural experience, an experience of Maine's own. While some states have come a long way, beginning to allow cannabis-offering-lounges  to some degree, it begs the question-when will Maine allow recreational or medicinal cannabis lounges? 

In the United States there are only a handful of legal lounges, with the majority of them located on the western coast, such as The Coffee Joint in Denver or Budberry in West Hollywood. The Summit is the only cannabis lounge on the east coast, residing  in Worcester, Massachusetts. This social lounge offers a unique blend of modern metal features and rustic finishes to make an enjoyable atmosphere that is topped off with a hash-bar, with video games and entertainment to enjoy. The space offers some booth-seating nestled against floor to ceiling windows directly outlooking the streat adjacent, giving a cannabis user an experience that seems too mainstream to believe. SO it leaves me wondering...when will Maine allow a cannabis club?

As of right now there is no legal route for anyone to open a lounge, while there are some places Mainers can smoke communilly, the legality is questionable. With other states, notably even ones who started behind us, having a framework for commercial events for the consumption of cannabis, shouldn't the state of Maine be thinking about cannabis and business outside of just plain-retail? Many Mainers find themselves in a position where they cannot smoke in their building, leading to consumption confined exclusively outdoors. What about the winter months? Hot-box the car? Risk not only your car reeking of cannabis for weeks but also a potential OUI if you were to get pulled over by the police? None of these options are suffice and alone these laws are restrictive to patients and their access to consuming their meds. From a recreational stand point, it seems like lounges and clubs would exist once there is a more solidified way for law enforcement to tell the level of someone's impairment. As of now, police officers have a series of tests they can perform to determine if someone has consumed cannabis recently, however, these tests are unreliable and fail to give a unanimously agreed upon numerical value depicting one’s level of impairment. While some companies have introduced products that should be able to detect the level of THC in one's system through a breathalyzer like function, these devices have yet to make their way to Maine.

Cannabis lounges are found in every shape and size, from upbeat and posh, to rural and earthy they find themselves in every realm of the world. With our neighbors allowing for the existence of such communal places it makes us wonder, when is it our turn? I think soon.

- Evan

Host of the Maine Potcast

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