What you need to know before you go to a cannabis lounge

Published Aug 28, 2022 08:59 a.m. ET
iStock / davit85

The mere mention of a cannabis lounge brings to mind a certain image of a smoke-filled room, complete with comfortable furniture, decorated with Cheech and Chong posters, and filled from wall to wall with heavy tokers. In today’s modern world this stereotype may sometimes be true, but more often than not, there are more rules and limitations than you might expect. Each of these safe havens offers a unique experience, and it’s important to know what to expect before you go so that you aren’t left unprepared or disappointed.

1. Is it smoke-friendly?

Most assume that cannabis lounges are the one place you’d be guaranteed to have no issue smoking, but that’s not necessarily always the case. In fact, some only encourage edibles, a few only accommodate vapers, and the majority have little to no control over what happens outside the facility, leaving it up to the municipality to determine whether or not you can stand a few feet away from the door for a toke.

2. Do they sell cannabis?

All cannabis lounges are designed to provide a comfortable and safe space for enthusiasts and patients to indulge in their products freely and openly, but if you show up empty-handed, then you might not be enjoying anything, because not all stores are licensed to provide the actual product, leaving visitors to supply their own or go without. So be sure to see if you can buy cannabis before heading out.

3. Can you buy snacks and drinks?

After buzzing for a while you’re probably going to feel parched, and maybe even a bit hungry, issues visitors might hope would be solved by a simple offering of drinks and snacks. Some lounges are fully equipped with everything from coffee and water to five star meals, but most don’t offer anything extravagant, and a few aren’t allowed to sell any food or drink at all due to local municipal restrictions.

4. Are reservations required?

Cannabis lounges boast a relaxed atmosphere free of judgment, but you can’t always stroll up when the mood strikes, because many in particular the busiest and best locations implement a reservation system, requiring visitors to register long before arriving. Some may even need as much as 24 hours’ notice just to book a table, so make sure to call and check ahead.

5. Is a fee associated with this visit?

Since these establishments often can’t sell cannabis products or make food items on-site, it can be difficult to bring in enough money to stay afloat, which is why it’s not uncommon to be required to pay a fee to visit certain locations. Generally, these fees aren’t high, even when membership is required. Still, these dues have to be paid before you sit down, so it’s a good idea to find out whether or not you can afford them.

6. Will they have devices available?

Most public consumption places have some sort of devices on hand to loan or rent to visitors. Luckily, this additional expense is rarely a requirement for attending, but it’s a nice perk, especially for those who haven’t yet had the opportunity to try high-quality devices like tabletop vaporizers. It’s not a deal breaker if one isn’t offered if you’re already equipped. Still, it’s a wonderful option that’s great to have for anyone who comes to the table less prepared.

7. Is the air quality good?

Some states have requirements for air quality inside lounges, but even if it’s not required, visitors will thoroughly enjoy high-quality air filtration systems to keep the contact high to a minimum. For those with pre-existing health issues, in particular related to breathing or the lungs, this is an incredibly important thing to find out. Otherwise, you might not be able to comfortably enjoy everything the facility has to offer, without sacrificing your health.

8. Are time limits implemented?

Much like reservations and per-use fees, many busier lounges have begun limiting the number of time patrons can spend inside, with some opting for short 30-minute intervals, and others stretching longer by one or more hours. Since you probably already know how much time you’ll want to spend relaxing, it’s best to make sure you’re not going to be unexpectedly asked to leave early.

9. Do they offer entertainment?

Not all lounges will roll out the red carpet and serve up top-quality video games, live music, or big screen televisions to take in the big game, but some absolutely do to keep visitors coming back. This is especially helpful to break up silences among friends, and it gives you something fun to do to pass the time while you’re waiting for the buzz to wear off before making the trek home.

10. What happens if you get too high?

When dozens or even hundreds of people are coming through the doors each day to consume cannabis, it makes sense to assume that eventually someone might go overboard, and this is especially true if you’re spending large amounts of time in a smoke-filled room. The thing is, each lounge has its own way of handling the situation. Some locations will call a cab, a handful keep medical assistance on staff, and others will provide a quiet and safe space to recover before sending these afflicted souls on their way. If the worst happens and you get too high, it’s comforting to know what to expect, and how you will be treated long before arriving.

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