The City of Grover Beach might be the first city in San Luis Obispo County to permit cannabis lounges, but what exactly would a lounge look like?
“With tables and perhaps a bar where people can sit and socialize and use cannabis like you would sip a martini or a beer at a bar," said Ed Schmults, CEO of Urbn Leaf.
The four retailers in the city, including Urbn Leaf, have expressed interest in adding a cannabis lounge to their existing location.
“Is it just like a bar or is it more like a wine tasting? Or are there elements of like a health and wellness seminar where you can learn about applications for pain or inflammation or anxiety or sleep? Or maybe a combination of all those things," said Schmults.
City officials say the additional tax revenue can be used for city initiatives and projects. Over the last year, the cannabis industry in the city has generated more than $2 million in cannabis tax revenue.
Some people have concerns about where the revenue is going with one person posting this comment on Facebook, “Time to have an audit and a public accounting as to where exactly all that revenue is going.”
However, other residents say they agree with the ordinance.
“We’ve had bars, bars for alcohol for so long and it’s almost the same thing. It’s someone going to a place to enjoy themselves freely with no repercussions, you know what I mean?" said Dakota Brewer.
“It’s a place for people to go and do their thing better than out in the streets," said Duane Langstaff.
City representatives and cannabis owners say Grover Beach police will work with cannabis lounge employees to help them recognize impaired customers and prevent the over-serving of cannabis.
“Similar to a bar, a bartender can say excuse me sir or ma’am, you’ve had a few too many, I am going to call you an Uber or a cab. So those are going to policies and approaches we’re going to work on internally and have our own Urbn Leaf approach and vet those with Grover Beach PD," said Schmults.
The ordinance will be brought back to the council in March allowing for community input.
City officials say if passed, the ordinance will go into effect later this spring where applicants would be able to apply for a permit.
Last June, Lompoc because the first city to open an on-site cannabis consumption lounge on the Central Coast.