WEED FEED / John Ross Ferrara / Monday, Oct. 22 @ 10:42 a.m.
Weed Feed: Eureka City Council Votes to Allow On-Site Pot Consumption Facilities
Last week’s City Council meeting.
The Eureka City Council unanimously voted to move forward with allowing marijuana-style bars and other businesses to open up within the city limits last week.
These on-site marijuana use “facilities,” which could take the form of pot-themed lounges, spas, restaurants, hotels and so on, are allowed under Prop. 64 if approved by their local jurisdictions.
Community Development Director Rob Holmlund addressed the council and attending townsfolk with a report on the various benefits and problems these businesses could create for the city.
The main benefit outlined in the report, aside from the additional business revenue, is the possibility that the city could see a whole new style of businesses that appeals to marijuana tourism. Holmlund said there are roughly 50 marijuana businesses already operating out of the city. However, most of them focus on manufacturing and distribution because on-site use has previously not been permitted under Eureka’s municipal codes.
“It’s an opportunity for people to have a legitimate legal place to consume cannabis in a safe setting,” Holmlund said.
For the negative aspects of on-site pot use, the report focused mostly on the idea of irresponsible or unexperienced customers ingesting too much THC and then leaving the business, where they could either be noticeably too high in public — or worse — drive away.
Holmlund offered up various solutions to these problems, including the council limiting the THC dosage in edible products offered at any proposed on-site facility, requiring the businesses to have education programs both for their staff and customers, establishing a policy that each facility must have some kind of customer transport plan, and requiring them to sell non-THC products to encourage designated drivers.
Although the city voted in favor of these types of shops opening in town, Holmlund said there is still a lengthy permitting process ahead of any potential businesses owners, including proposals, licensing and construction permits that would likely prevent any of these businesses from being functional until August or September of next year. In the meantime, the council can to continue work out the details of what restrictions and requirements to place on these businesses.
State law already imposes many restrictions on these marijuana-style bars, including age restrictions of 21 or older, no alcohol or tobacco consumption in the facilities, marijuana use cannot be visible from any public place, and the shops must adhere to standard smoking regulations.
The Weed Feed is a weekly column written by John Ross Ferrara.
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