The executive director of Washington’s chapter of NORML said the marijuana advocacy group is kicking around the idea of opening what he called an “Elks Lodge of cannabis.”
“We’ll be talking with attorneys about it,” said Kevin Oliver. He envisions a members-only club, with no marijuana sales, similar to NORML’s cafe in Portland for medical marijuana patients.
Whether that’s legal under Washington’s new marijuana law is unclear. The law prohibits marijuana use “in view of the general public.” And Washington’s indoor smoking ban, intended to protect restaurant and bar employees, likely would apply to marijuana as it does to tobacco.
But James Apa of Public Health – Seattle & King County, which enforces the indoor smoking law, said his agency was researching the issue.
“We’re taking a careful look at the indoor smoking law and the new marijuana law, and the interplay between the two.”
For Oliver’s idea to fly, the NORML clubhouse likely wouldn’t be able to have employees, because the state indoor smoking ban clearly protects them from second-hand inhalation.
Hookah lounges have tried to carve out an exception to the indoor smoking ban, arguing they are private clubs. But Pierce County public health officials shut down two such lounges in September, and Apa said Public Health has also shut several down.
One unanswered question is whether inhalation from a marijuana vaporizer would run afoul of the indoor smoking law. Apa said that was among the issues being researched.