The Central Coast’s first cannabis lounge, a place where people can consume cannabis on site, recently opened in Lompoc — and now, Grover Beach is exploring the idea and may become the first city in SLO County to open one.
It works much like an alcohol bar — a cannabis lounge is where adults can purchase cannabis products from a bud-tender to consume and socialize on site.
Todd Mitchell, owner of Seaweed on Ocean Cannabis Dispensary, now has the only cannabis lounge open between San Francisco and Los Angeles.
“There may be somewhere between 10 and 15 in the state of California now," Mitchell said. " I do believe they will become more mainstream.”
Mitchell said the lounge space, which is in a separate room from the main sales floor, provides people a private area to consume & also mitigates the smells that can accompany cannabis use.
“We had to do some pretty spectacular, cutting edge air filtration systems," Mitchell said. " To make sure both for the safety of our own people, as well as customers, without letting orders out of the building.”
Lompoc’s regulations on the lounge include no alcohol or tobacco can be consumed, a security guard must be working, and only those 21 and older can be on site.
Mitchell said he’s aware of the concerns people have about customers potentially leaving the lounge to drive home while high, but he said they are closely monitoring dosage and how each customer is reacting to the consumption.
"We have to be extremely careful," Mitchell said. "Just as within a bar, if a bartender feels that someone is inebriated they shouldn’t drive, they shouldn’t continue to serve them. We can help them find an Uber, or we can just let them sit and relax for a while.”
Although Lompoc was the first city on the Central Coast to green-light cannabis lounges, the City of Grover Beach is eyeing the idea of being the next.
City Manager Matt Bronson said the city council has expressed interest in considering cannabis lounges, and potential regulations and policies if they were to allow onsite consumption bars will be discussed at the city council meeting on August 23.