Marijuana issues in the cannabis legalization revolution are expected as the country moves toward change.
In cities such as Denver and Las Vegas – and pretty soon, Boston and Portland, Maine – both residents and tourists are free to buy marijuana for recreational use. They can have it in their possession without concern about breaking the law.
However, having it is one thing. Actually finding a place to smoke it is another issue altogether.
Smoking Marijuana Issues
As of now, in all of these places you can’t use marijuana in most hotels or any public places. It’s also illegal in bars, clubs and coffee houses. That’s one thing for residents, who at least can take it home – but only if they are owners and not renters.
But what is a tourist to do?
Like a lot of things involving marijuana issues, people are looking to Denver and, increasingly, Los Angeles for answers.
Troubling Question In Los Angeles
Most experts agree Los Angeles is about to become the mecca for the legalized marijuana business. Adult use sales in California, approved by voters in November 2016, will begin in 2018. The Golden State will rank as the biggest market for legal adult-use marijuana in history.
City leaders in Los Angeles are working on creating rules for establishing marijuana dispensaries, tax collections and permitting and fees for growers and sellers. But what hasn’t been addressed is where people can partake of weed once they buy it.
So far, with sales just months away, no city leaders have officially proposed any type of solution for the issue. What is clear is that under the proposed regulations now being debated by the L.A. City Council, use of marijuana is prohibited at dispensaries, grow houses, public places and anywhere cigarette smoking is banned.
Attorney Bruce Margolin, executive director of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Organization For The Reform of Marijuana Laws, told the Los Angeles Times “it’s ridiculous that the city doesn’t even consider that.”
Most hotel chains ban the use of marijuana. Apartment owners also have the right to forbid the use of marijuana by tenants. That leaves tourists and some residents nowhere to go.
Denver Takes The Lead
L.A. officials already have heard from law enforcement leaders that allowing cafes in which marijuana can be used – sort of like what is done in Amsterdam – could lead to higher incidents of driving under the influence of cannabis.
And the Times reported at least one prominent academic agrees. Peter Banys, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California – San Francisco, said more study is needed on such cafes before lawmakers allow them.
That research may come from Colorado. City officials in Denver are preparing a pilot program to allow customers at a small number of establishments to partake of marijuana. The establishments would not be allowed to sell marijuana or alcohol.
The license fee would be $2,000. The city has not yet started accepting applications.
San Francisco is also considering a regulation that would allow marijuana use at select cafes. However, the measure is still in the debate stage among city leaders.
In the meantime, tourists and some renters are left without any clear idea of how they can partake of the marijuana they can legally buy.