The article looks at the possibility of a legal future for cannabis lounges in Ontario. Writes Matt Lamers: "Ontario’s 10 existing marijuana lounges have operated in a legal gray area for decades, mostly owing to the fact that they don’t dispense cannabis and the courts have a hard time convicting people for possession."
Jonathan Sherman sees licensing for consumption in designated public spaces as a logical step forward. "I think this is the next logical evolution of legalization in Canada. And when you look at the rules proposed by Ontario, you’re only able to consume cannabis in a private dwelling place, which creates a number of issues for individuals in cities like Toronto, where you’re living in condominiums and there might not be a space that you can consume cannabis legally, properly and safely.... So I think the government looking at this is just the next evolution of regulation in Canada."
Jacquie Richards said some jurisdictions that legalized marijuana are reconsidering strict consumption rules, pointing to Colorado and Nevada, which initially limited cannabis consumption to private residences. That created problems for out-of-town visitors in particular who didn’t have a place to consume their legally-purchased cannabis.
"Jurisdictions that have legalized cannabis so far have begun to see the need to allow consumption in places other than the home. I’m not confident as to how and when Ontario will follow suit, but I do see that as a logical next step."
Richards, however, warned that changes to allow lounges or other nonresidential locations for cannabis use are unlikely to be in place when legalization kicks in July 1, 2018.