Atlantic City, New Jersey Official Pushing for Consumption Lounges

The director of constituent services for Atlantic City, New Jersey asked the state’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission to consider large-scale consumption lounges within the city.

Full story after the jump.

An official in Atlantic City, New Jersey is asking the state’s cannabis regulators to consider large-scale consumption areas within the city, claiming the state’s biggest convention town “needs special provisions to capitalize” on the new marketplace, the Press of Atlantic City reports. Kashawn McKinley, director of constituent services for Atlantic City, made the request during a virtual meeting with the Cannabis Regulatory Commission last week, noting that Atlantic City is the convention capital of the East Coast and that the cannabis industry “will be driven by conventions.”

During the meeting, regulators discussed the possibility of consumption lounges, including calls from the public to remove restrictions on sites selling non-alcoholic beverages and snacks. Dr. Suzaynn Schick of the University of California’s Center for Tobacco Control, Research and Education, who was invited by the board, said that studies in California found that the number of particles in indoor cannabis consumption areas was “off the scale” even in spaces that had installed new ventilation systems. She said that low levels of exposure to smoke including the smoke from cannabis can be dangerous, even if it remains an open question whether cannabis smoke is less dangerous than tobacco smoke.

McKinley also argued that consumption lounges should be accessible because cannabis is not permitted for individuals who are in public housing and that its use could result in an eviction.

“If it is illegal to consume in public housing and in public, then cannabis is still illegal for an entire sector of our community,” he said during the meeting.

During the meeting, the commission did approve a uniform warning label for cannabis products – a stop sign next to a stylized cannabis leaf in a triangle and the words “not safe for kids.” The mark will be imprinted onto products to indicate they include cannabis.

While the state has missed its February 22 statutory deadline to allow adult-use sales, last week Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said last week that he hoped the market would launch in March.

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