Learn | 05.05.2022

Why Have Canadian Consumption Lounges Vanished?

Is it too much to ask?

Canada was the second country to legalize recreational cannabis, right behind Uruguay

You might have stopped in at an unlicensed consumption lounge if you were smoking weed in Canada pre-legalization. 

My favorite spot was in Toronto at Young and Eglinton, a small and grungey place. It had live comedy and desktop vaporizers and allowed guests to bring their own weed from home.

Without it being legal, it felt like a safe space. But what happened to this place and the many like it? 

Canada's Consumption Lounges Have Vanished

Photo courtesy of Original Cannabis Cafe

What does it tell you when Canada shut down all consumption lounges after legalization?

To me, it’s feeding into the stigma that cannabis should not be consumed in the same fashion as alcohol.

Of course, there are laws around alcohol consumption, which are specifically in place for the public’s health and safety.

You cannot consume alcohol roaming the streets, nor can use consume it near a school, park, or other areas where children might be.

This leaves adults to drink at home or in bars, clubs, and indoor/outdoor venues where it’s permitted. So why haven’t we done the same with cannabis?

Why Have Consumption Lounges Disappeared?

Photo courtesy of Original Cannabis Cafe

Let’s look at the reasoning for laws that ban cannabis consumption lounges. 

As outdated as it may seem, these are the same laws that prohibit cigarette smokers from sparking up indoors. 

Long gone are the days when you could smoke a cigarette inside businesses, venues, and other indoor establishments. 

These laws were put in place to protect the public’s general health from secondhand smoke and workers from constantly inhaling tobacco smoke. 

While this is understandable, it’s a bit odd to think that Health Canada believes the following;

  • Cannabis smoke is just as harmful as tobacco smoke
  • Cannabis should not be consumed in the same fashion as alcohol
  • Cannabis use should be limited to private residences

Will Canada Ever Use Cannabis Indoors?

Photo courtesy of Original Cannabis Cafe

Unless you’re okay with smoking weed inside your home, don’t expect to consume it indoors any time soon. 

Even though we’ve touched on how consumption lounges could expand Canada’s tourism, it’s still a long shot. 

Provincial and territorial regulators have been asked about the issue, but it’s not on the agenda or under consideration. 

Similarly, the only consumption lounges that Canada should expect to see, if any, will only allow edibles. 

I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I’m just as disappointed as you are. 

It’s truly frustrating to live in a country that boasts progressiveness but doesn’t allow its people to choose where they should indulge in responsible cannabis use. 

As for consumption lounges, don’t get your hopes up. But trust me, when Canada begins talking about cannabis consumption lounges that allow smoking, you’ll be the first to know. 

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