In November of 2013, voters in Washington approved Initiative 502 which legalized the recreational use of cannabis for adults. The same amendment legalized the retail sale of recreational marijuana, but the first recreational dispensary did not open doors of operation until July 2014.
Initiative 502 legalized marijuana, but it is restricts where it is acceptable to consume it. It cannot be used in public, hotels, or most rental properties. Therefore many people have no place to consume legally. Seattle’s City Attorney, Pete Holmes, is pushing to legalize and license cannabis vapor lounges to meet this need for adult tourists and residents alike.
Holmes (pictured above) was a proponent for passing Initiative 502 in the state. Now he says he aims to align city and state marijuana laws with an extensive plan. The plan is outlined in a twenty page policy-memo, and giving people a legal environment in which to consume cannabis is just one part of a whole. He explained to King 5 News,
“Single family homeowners have a legal place to consume marijuana; others however, such as out-of-town visitors, the homeless, and renters and condominium owners whose buildings do not permit marijuana use, have fewer options. You can enforce that law much better if you, at the same time provide, an outlet for that demand.”
Only adults aged 21 years and older would be allowed inside the proposed cannabis lounges. For health reasons, instead of smoking the plant, consumers would have to vaporize it, and establishments would be required to meet minimum ventilation requirements. These lounges would not be permitted to provide cannabis, so consumers would be required to bring their own. Alcohol service inside of a cannabis vapor lounge would also be banned, but operators would have the option to serve food.
Before a vapor lounge could be licensed, approval from the City Council and a waiver from the health department must be obtained.