The 2016 General Election has thankfully come and gone, and legalization won Big Time! From the nation’s capital to the land of the Midnight Sun, recreational consumers and patients alike are more than a little curious … can they puff, puff, pass, where legal marijuana is sold?
Unlike the alcohol industry, where partygoers can publicly enjoy their intoxicating libations at the local pub, bar, tavern or lounge, the rules and regulations surrounding legal marijuana consumption are just a tad bit hazier.
Broken down for easy absorption, the recreational states listed below have specific ordinances mandating where legal marijuana can be fired up. And, more often than not … getting high is rarely deemed a socially acceptable experience that can be enjoyed at your local pot shop.
Nipping public consumption in the bud, the Alaskan Marijuana Control Board snuffed out a recent proposal by a 3 to 2 vote that would have cultivated a significant milestone for the industry – legal marijuana consumption at an American dispensary. While cruise ships loaded with anxious pot tourists may boldly venture to the Last Frontier in hopes of hitting some ‘Alaskan Thunder F*ck’ at the local dispensary, Thursday’s narrow defeat may leave more than a few 420-fans out in the cold.
By following specific guidelines and parameters, California’s local municipalities are allowed to create their own rules and regulations surrounding the topic of public on-site consumption at dispensaries. Restricted by age – 21 and older only – those consuming their California chronic are to remain out of the general public’s sight. According to Lorie Ajax, California’s head marijuana regulator, in addition to being consigned to the shadows pot smokers are not allowed to burn their blunts where alcohol and tobacco are allowed.
Igniting social use and public consumption in Denver before the end of 2017, Colorado does not currently allow on-site marijuana smoking in the state’s many dispensaries. Initiative 300, passed by voters in the Mile High City during November’s general election, will allow the public adult-use of vaporizers and edibles indoors. Still prohibited inside, connoisseurs of Colorado’s sweet flowers and excellent extracts will still be relegated to outside consumption, along with the rest of the smokers.
Decriminalized in 2015, residents in the District of Columbia are legally allowed to possess up to 2 ounces of their favorite strain. Prohibited by Congress from allowing recreational marijuana shops in the nation’s capital, individuals can still be arrested for smoking, eating, or dabbing in any public space. Including any street, alley, park, vehicle or any common area where the public normally congregates.
Much to Gov. LePage’s lament, Maine’s voters passed Question 1 on Nov. 8, 2016. Currently still in the germination process of their retail pot shops/marijuana social clubs, the approval of Q1 by Maine’s constituents will allow the state’s newest cash crop to be sold and consumed on-site. Dated and signed on Dec. 31, 2016, Question 1 became law on Jan. 30, 2017. With possession limits of up to 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana for personal consumption, the Maine Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations will oversee all of Maine’s marijuana social clubs.
The first state to legalize recreational marijuana consumption along the eastern seaboard, the ‘Yes’ vote on Question 4 in Massachusetts smoked the ‘No’ vote by approximately 1.7 million ballots. Allowed to create, nurture, or kill any on-site marijuana consumption rules and regulations, local municipalities will be allowed to control their own destiny by a simple voter referendum. Governed by a three-member Cannabis Control Commission, many anticipate the new state sanctioned pot shops to start popping up no later than Jan. 2018.
Elevating the typically negative “Sin City” perception of many, recreational marijuana is currently legal in Nevada. While no recreational dispensaries are open for your shopping pleasure at the moment, on Jan. 1, 2017, Nevada became the 7th state to allow the personal possession and private use of recreational pot. Still considered bad social form (read: illegal) to light up in brothels, bars, nightclubs, or on the Las Vegas strip, Nevada (D) Sen. Tick Segerblom has proposed legislation that could allow public use in Nevada’s soon-to-be-bustling marijuana stores.
First made available on Oct. 1, 2015, Oregon’s recreational marijuana stores initially taxed and sold approximately $11 million in Oregon-grown pot during the first full week of recreational sales. While it is perfectly legal to purchase and possess recreational cannabis in Oregon, state law prohibits the use of marijuana in any public places – and that includes retail marijuana shops. Additional places you can’t get high in Oregon include buses, parks or playgrounds, and bars. Ultimately, getting high anywhere but your private residence is going to cause a sobering interaction with the local police force.
Considered seriously bad weed etiquette by both bud tenders and cops alike, Washington State’s marijuana law does not allow for on-site consumption in their adult-use marijuana shops. Also seriously frowned upon, home cultivation and recreational marijuana lounges. Though Washington State parolees can legally smoke weed without fear of retribution from the State Department of Corrections, they’d better not get caught smoking outside the privacy of their own home.
Cover photo courtesy of Allie Beckett
Other photos courtesy of Paul VanDerWerf, Michael Krigsman, Jasen Miller, and Joseph.
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