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Smoking Is Prohibited At Michigan’s 2 Marijuana Lounges, But Will They Open Up?

Smoking Is Prohibited At Michigan's 2 Marijuana Lounges, But Will They Open Up?

A historic opera theater has been converted into a lounge with plush leather sofas in a small town in northern Michigan where people can gather and smoke marijuana. One of Michigan’s two authorized cannabis consumption lounges is Kalkushka, which is located in downtown Kalkaska.

The other is Hot Box Social in Hazel Park, which is available for private gatherings like birthday parties and business meetings. General manager Chris Atteberry of Kalkushka remarked, “In a lot of ways, we’re developing something that no one has actually seen or heard of before.

In recent years, marijuana lounges and cafés have been authorized in just 10 states, including Michigan. A location where individuals can legally use cannabis in public seems like a promising idea, but tough Michigan rules have made it difficult for lounges to take off.

The major restriction is that marijuana cannot be sold inside consumption lounges. The most crucial one, according to Scott Roberts, managing partner of Detroit-based cannabis law company Scott Roberts Law, is that you can’t serve alcohol if you’re at a bar.

Smoking Is Prohibited At Michigan's 2 Marijuana Lounges, But Will They Open Up?

In March 2022, Hot Box Social, Michigan’s first legally permitted private cannabis consumption establishment, opened for business. Renters in metro Detroit have the option of bringing their own marijuana or purchasing it from nearby shops.

Samantha Baker, general manager of Hot Box Social, said, “We provided a secure area for people to not just consume in their home, but to gather in that social context. Hot Box Social resembles a coffee shop thanks to its large windows, comfortable couches, leafy wallpaper, and green tiling.

Smoke is whisked away by a specialized ventilation system akin to a cigar bar. Moreover, drinking is prohibited on the premises under state law. According to Baker, this removes the requirement that customers drink. It’s good to have a place where you don’t necessarily have to have alcohol present, she added.

whether you’re there for an event or simply hanging out with friends. I’ve heard the same response from other people. The Kalkushka business is run on a subscription basis. Visitors can purchase an annual, monthly, or day pass to use cannabis in the establishment, which also offers coffee, snacks, trivia evenings, live music, board games, and coffee.

Smoking Is Prohibited At Michigan's 2 Marijuana Lounges, But Will They Open Up?

The room has a dab table made from a tree that was planted in 1886 but afterward damaged by lightning. Atteberry claims that since the lounge’s launch in June of last year, it has sought to be “a piece of the community” that people frequent frequently. He declared that cannabis users are fantastic people and wonderful members of the community.

“They really like having a place to utilize together, be together, and laugh in a safe environment,” says the author. The Botanical Co., one of six dispensaries in the small town of Kalkaska, and Kalkushka are both owned by Carbidex, a Lansing-based holding company involved in the cannabis market.

Customers of the lounge may bring in anything they choose to use, with the exception of tobacco and alcohol, or they may purchase items from the dispensary. There is a lot of sharing of THC here in the lounge, but there is absolutely no sale of THC, according to Atteberry.

Since recreational marijuana use was approved in Michigan five years ago, at least 21 communities have approved cannabis lounges. In the past three years, Michigan has only seen four applications for licenses. And only Kalkushka and Hot Box Social have opened, despite other lounges being proposed in places like Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo, and Muskegon.

Smoking Is Prohibited At Michigan's 2 Marijuana Lounges, But Will They Open Up?

The approval of lounges by the state is a three-step process, according to Roberts. The initial step in being pre-qualified to run a cannabis business in Michigan is to submit background information. Following that, companies must obtain municipal permission before returning to the state to obtain a consumption license.

According to Roberts, licensing obstacles might make it hard for lounges to turn a profit. I believe the regulations and laws simply make it not economically viable as a solo firm, he claimed. “They charge entrance fees as a means of revenue. But it’s difficult for businesses to break even because of all these continuing compliance fees.

Even though customers paid a record low of around $60 an ounce last year, straining a crowded market, marijuana has grown into a $2 billion industry in Michigan, doubling in size in only two years. According to official figures, Michigan also added more than 100 retail stores in 2017, bringing the total to 609 in December.

Nonetheless, Roberts claims that the marijuana lounge industry is yet “unproven.” “It’s challenging to persuade someone to pay $20 to smoke at a lounge when they insist on using their basement instead. It is free,” he declared. There are rigorous regulations in place in other states that have marijuana lounges.

Smoking Is Prohibited At Michigan's 2 Marijuana Lounges, But Will They Open Up?

A recently filed measure in California would permit cannabis cafes to serve food and coffee. Earlier last month, the city of Las Vegas enacted regulations requiring lounges to be 1,000 feet apart. Consumers in Pennsylvania and Illinois must provide their own supplies.

Bring-your-own-cannabis lounges are permitted in Colorado, the first state to legalize marijuana. Yet, a new state law made it possible for the first marijuana bar to open last year, where patrons can purchase and use marijuana on the premises.

“Getting the social clubs took years. Sean McAllister, a Colorado attorney who has dealt with cannabis, hemp, and psychedelic medicine regulations, claimed that the licensing was highly contentious and the limits were very severe.

An option for Coloradans to consume cannabis openly is through marijuana tasting rooms. But in Michigan, other than in marijuana lounges, public consumption is only permitted during authorized events like the CannaBash festival in Muskegon or the CannaJam in Ypsilanti.

Smoking Is Prohibited At Michigan's 2 Marijuana Lounges, But Will They Open Up?

As opposed to being compelled to be hidden behind a bush or in the background of society, Atteberry believes there is something special about a place where cannabis is used. Atteberry thinks more marijuana lounges could open as they approach their first year in operation in Michigan.

And Baker believes that since Hot Box Social and Kalkushka set the bar high last year, various consumption lounge business models could start to emerge around the state. Ultimately, marijuana is legal in Michigan. It’s becoming one of the states with the largest cannabis industries in the nation, and that’s not necessarily a negative thing, according to Atteberry. “If we accept it correctly, it’s a good thing.”

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Sheela Sharma

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Sheela is a skilled and experienced writer with a deep passion for all things related to the CBD industry. She enjoys writing everything related to CBD and Marijuana. When she isn't writing she likes to watch tv series and listen to podcasts.

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