On-Site Cannabis Consumption at Cannabis Retail Premises

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Though the Bureau of Cannabis Control’s Regulations do not mention any restriction of on-site cannabis consumption, the text of the Medicinal and Adult Use of Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) does. MAUCRSA states that “a local jurisdiction may allow for the smoking, vaporizing, and ingesting of cannabis or cannabis products on the premises of a retailer or microbusiness … if all of the following are met:

  1. Access to the area where cannabis consumption is allowed is restricted to persons 21 years of age and older.
  2. Cannabis consumption is not visible from any public place or non-age-restricted area.
  3. Sale or consumption of alcohol or tobacco is not allowed on the premises.”
On-site Cannabis Consumption at Cannabis Retail Locations
Image Source: SPARC (via Google Maps)

This means that although MAUCRSA allows for on-site cannabis consumption, only medicinal patients or adult consumers over the age of 21 are permitted to consume cannabis at a retail space. Additionally, the consumption by individuals 21 and older must be not be visible by those who are under 21. Therefore, if an operator plans to both sell medicinal cannabis to individuals under 21 and to allow on-site consumption, the retail premises must be large enough to accommodate a private, age-restricted consumption space not visible to those under 21.

Many local laws do not address this caveat within MAUCRSA, and it is not readily evident in BCC regulations either, so it is essential that you are aware of both the state limitations, as well as the additional limitations your locality may place on on-site consumption.

Over the last couple of months, as applicants finalized their cannabis retail applications for the City of Santa Rosa, one question that commonly arose was whether applicants planned to offer on-site consumption at their retail space.

In the City of Santa Rosa, a cannabis retail operator may allow on-site consumption of cannabis by employees who are medicinal cannabis patients, and by customers for medicinal and adult use. Note, though, that per the City of Santa Rosa’s Comprehensive Cannabis Ordinance (§ 20-46.080 (F)) and Chapter 9-20 of the City Code (Smoking Regulations), a cannabis retailer cannot permit smoking or vaping on-site; therefore, on-site consumption in Santa Rosa is limited to using cannabis in non-combustible forms, such as edibles or topicals, among others.

On the other hand, the City of San Francisco expressly states in its ordinance (§ 202.2 (a) (5) (C)) that “Cannabis may be consumed or smoked on site pursuant to authorization by the Department of Public Health as applicable.”

As localities open their doors to medicinal and adult use cannabis retailers, operators may consider offering on-site consumption to their customers. However, not only does the state limit on-site cannabis consumption, but localities can further limit it, as well. Therefore, familiarity with the interplay between state and local law is paramount. Contact an attorney with Rogoway Law Group if you are interested in learning more about how the interplay between local and state laws may affect your business.

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