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Onsite Consumption Gets People Smoking in Dispensaries and Off the Streets

2 minute Read

While most dispensaries don’t offer customers the option to consume onsite, the handful that do have smoking lounges have so far had positive experiences with it. One example is Barbary Coast, located in San Francisco.

“When we first opened, we really wanted to establish a good relationships with the neighborhood, the community, and the city,” Barbary Coast’s executive director Jesse Henry tells Jane Street. To prove themselves as “good neighbors,” the team behind Barbary Coast expanded the dispensary’s property to add an onsite consumption lounge.

Barbary Coast

“Our philosophy is: We want to be a part of this neighborhood, we want to be a part of this community, not only serving the best medicine, but also also saying, ‘hey this is a legitimate business,’ so we want to be an example of what a good business and a good neighbor can be in that neighborhood,” says Henry.

Barbary Coast’s onsite consumption lounge opened this past spring, and has been well received by the surrounding community and customers, alike. “The neighbors are appreciative. It gives patients a clean, safe, comfortable place to medicate that’s out of the streets,” says Henry. “A lot of people who live in federally funded housing can’t medicate as far as smoking in those residences and buildings, so ti gives them a good place to do that.”

Henry estimates that about 30 percent of customers utilize the lounge. While some people don’t have too much time to hang out, the lounge’s 30 to 40 seats get filled on a regular basis, he says. Oftentimes, customers use the lounge for meetings or a quick joint on their lunch break from work.

Barbary Coast

The lounge itself offers dab rigs, pipes, rolling papers, and other accessories for medicating that customers can use on-site. There’s also smoking section, as well as a separate place to dab and vaporize. “If they don’t have a lot of time, they can come in, buy one hit and leave,” says Henry. “Other patients who have more time, prefer their own thing and can hang out.”

A large spectrum of people use the lounge, from mid-workday professionals to people who can’t smoke at home to others who want to relax after work or meet with friends or colleagues over a joint instead of coffee.

There is, however, a half-hour time limit in the lounge. “This is not a party spot, but it is a place that people can socialize in for sure,” says Henry. And for the time being, given that California’s adult use market hasn’t gone into effect yet, everyone who comes through the dispensary doors must still be a medical marijuana patient. “We are following existing legislation and want to make sure it’s done right,” he says.

While in concept, the lounge is comparable to a bar for weed, Henry emphasizes the medical nature of cannabis, whether it’s used therapeutically or recreationally. “We’re breaking the stigma of how the perception used to be,” he says. “I’m sure there are a lot of patients who walk by and people who always wanted to go into the dispensary. We want people to feel comfortable coming in, and safe. In my point of view, {cannabis} will always be medical.”

Onsite Consumption Gets People Smoking in Dispensaries and Off the Streets