The smoking lounge confirms San Francisco’s place as America’s leading recreational cannabis destination.
There are more legal cannabis smoking lounges in San Francisco than in the rest of the US combined. We now have nine such lounges at pharmacies across the city, while Denver just licensed just the second, Oakland has one, and the rest of America has none.
Hell, a single block in SoMa has as many marijuana lounges as the entire country outside of San Francisco. On the corner of Ninth Street and Mission Street you will find smoking lounges on the Vapor Room, SPARC, and ReLeaf.
Some of these lounges consist solely of patio furniture thrown into a corner, while others are elaborate, Baroque parlors with chandeliers, velvet flake wallpaper, and widescreen TVs. The newest cannabis smoking lounge is the city’s most opulent yet, the luxury lounge of the newly opened Market Street dispensary Moe Greens.
“It’s Lounge 2.0,” Tired Greens Founder and CEO Nate Haas says: SF Evergreen. “We wanted Moe Greens to be a return to the San Francisco where our grandparents and great-grandparents lived, the San Francisco where you dress up on Saturday nights and go to a place like Joe’s or Alfred’s Steakhouse for a drink. ”
Despite the Las Vegas-inspired logo, the name “Moe Greens” is not a reference to the casino mogul from the godfather.
“One day I had some cannabis in my hand and my partner, who sometimes calls me Moe, said, ‘That’s a lot of green, Moe,'” Haas recalls. “That was the light bulb moment. Now we offer ‘mo green’ at Moe Greens. ”
It has by far the largest legal consumption lounge in the city, with separate, dedicated rooms for vaping, smoking and dabbing. The chic aesthetic is similar to that of the Barbary Coast pharmacy, which is run by the same management team.
“Lounges are very important to us,” says Haas. “When recreational cannabis was over, competition intensified. Building unique lounges that embody the San Francisco in which we and our families grew up helps set our pharmacy apart from all the others.”
Shockingly affordable prices also set Moe Greens apart from the pack. House grams are available for just $8, a price not seen in the city in years.
Smoking lounges may look like they’re just for big spenders, but they’re not. Urban Pharm’s steampunk-inspired lounge, one of the few that allows vaping and smoking indoors, sells individual dabs for just $5 — and Dollar Dabs for just $1 during happy hour on Fridays.
Whether you can only vape, dab or smoke raw flowers in a lounge is up to the pharmacy itself. Most only allow vaping but offer free Volcano vaporizers and clear plastic bags. Others offer loaner bongs and dab rigs, but none of them allow alcohol or tobacco.
The permit to smoke inside legally is not granted by the Cannabis office in San Francisco, which generally handles marijuana license approvals. The license to smoke — technically a “Cannabis Consumption License” — is actually granted by the San Francisco Department of Public Health (DPH).
Yes, the Ministry of Health allows smoking weed.
“The health department has taken a harm reduction approach from cannabis consumption,” said DPH spokesperson Veronica Vien SF Evergreen. “Rules and regulations allow consumption but limit youth exposure and access by minors” and “reduce excessive indoor smoke exposure through improved engineering controls.”
The department’s cannabis consumption laws describe these technical controls as “a ventilation system capable of removing all detectable odors, smoke and combustion byproducts.”
Lounge owners say these ventilation requirements are actually one of the easier regulations to meet.
“These hurdles are minimal for existing pharmacies,” said SPARC CEO and Chairman Erich Pearson. “The process with DPH went smoothly.”
SPARC’s lounge is one of those volcano-only vaping facilities, but customers are allowed to light and smoke flowers from 4:20pm on Fridays and Saturdays
Right around the corner from SPARC, the Vapor Room has the most notable smoking lounge in town. That’s because it sits right in their giant windshield, for any passerby to see.
“Our lounge is integrated into our shopping experience and is prominently displayed through our front window,” said Vapor Room owner Martin Olive. “We believe this helps to remove the unnecessary stigma of feeling like one should hide one’s cannabis use in dark corners.”
Most cannabis lounges in San Francisco are concentrated on a four-block strip in SoMa. But two of them are outliers – literally.
Far out in the Richmond and deep in the Mission, Harvest pharmacies offer conference room-style lounges with giant TVs. Both act as co-working spaces, cannabis farmer markets and event venues, or host dinner gatherings such as Dim Sum and Dabs or Fried Chicken and Dabs.
“Our lounges provide a cannabis-friendly workplace, a utopian meeting place, a remarkable educational facility or the most beautiful space to consume,” said Harvest guest service manager Tom Powers.
Sure, it’s all fun and good in these stylish and hip cannabis lounges suitable for convention enthusiasts and the new SoMa tech set. But for many San Franciscans, the lounges really are a vital public resource.
“Older, disabled and sick people can and will experience isolation by medicating cannabis alone at home,” emphasizes Olive of the Vapor Room. “Anyone can be forced to use cannabis in parks, on the street or in their car while on medication, which can expose them all to unnecessary and illegal risks.”
Pearson of SPARC adds: “The lounges are critical for the many medical cannabis patients who live in government-subsidized housing where cannabis consumption is not allowed.”
San Francisco won’t remain home to the largest number of cannabis lounges in the country for much longer. West Hollywood has just granted 16 consumption lounge permits for smoking or edibles on site. These permits are conditional on the companies getting a full license, but WeHo is well positioned to surpass our number of cannabis lounges.
Las Vegas will also get them soon, possibly this year. But the San Francisco lounges served as the basis for the Las Vegas framework. Expect other cities to continue to follow suit as legal cannabis spreads across the US
Our cannabis lounges are a really great airport bar type social space where you find yourself among the tourists, veterans, SSI recipients or CEOs. And San Francisco has set the groundbreaking standard that pharmacies around the world will look to when they want to launch.
tired greens, 1276 Market St., 415-762-4255 or moegreens.com