Alaska on Thursday rejected a proposal to make it the first state in the nation allowing consumption of marijuana in retail pot stores. Recreational marijuana is legal in another seven states and the District of Colombia.
Here is where each of those states stand with pot consumption at places where marijuana is sold:
California state law leaves the question of onsite consumption to local governments. Lori Ajax, the state’s top marijuana regulator, said in an email that restrictions include that access to the area where cannabis use is allowed be limited to people only 21 and over, consumption cannot be visible to the general public and the sale or consumption of alcohol or tobacco is not allowed on the premises.
Colorado does not allow onsite consumption at retail stores, though some private clubs operate around the state. The city of Denver has started discussing how to go about licensing marijuana social clubs after voters approved that in November. How it’s allowed to be consumed — whether by smoking, vaping or via edibles — varies. Regulations prohibiting smoking in interior public spaces have greatly restricted smoking it. In general, customers aren’t allowed to consume marijuana where they bought it.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
There are no retail marijuana stores in the District of Columbia. While possession of up to 2 ounces of pot is legal, the city was barred by Congress from taxing the drug or legalizing sales. Pot advocates argued that there was room in the city’s initiative legalizing marijuana to allow consumption at private clubs. But Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser opposed the idea, and the D.C. Council narrowly voted to ban pot clubs last year.
Maine’s law, approved by voters in November, includes a provision for the licensing retail marijuana social clubs. These businesses would sell marijuana to be consumed on the premises. It could not be taken away. Maine’s state government is at the beginning of the long process of drafting rules that would govern the clubs, and other facets of retail marijuana. The state has about a year to implement rules. No clubs can open before rules are in place.
The voter-approved Massachusetts law permits onsite consumption of marijuana only if the city or town where the retail store is located votes, by referendum, to allow it. So absent an affirmative vote of the local community, onsite consumption at pot shops is prohibited. Retail pot shops are not expected to be licensed and open for business in Massachusetts until mid-2018.
Pot could be allowed at Nevada casinos, clubs, outdoor events, massage parlors and other public places under legislation proposed this year by a Las Vegas Democrat. Nevada Sen. Tick Segerblom is challenging state laws banning marijuana from public places or in pot shops with a bill that would give local governments the discretion to license public use. That would be big business, Segerblom said. Nevada is one of the few remaining states where tobacco is allowed in most public places, including casinos and bars. “We’re going to be advertising around the world ‘Come to Nevada to use legal pot,'” Segerblom said. “We can’t invite them to come here then tell them they can’t use it.”
Oregon state law prohibits the use of marijuana in retail stores. The law also bans the use of marijuana in public places. They are defined as any place with public access — including establishments with liquor licenses, apartment building lobbies, parks, playgrounds and public transportation stations.
Washington state bans pot consumption or even opening packages of marijuana at retail stores. Washington’s law does not allow for cannabis lounges, but the state’s most high-profile lobby for the industry, the Washington CannaBusiness Association, has made legalization of pot lounges a legislative priority this year. “Community norms when it comes to the use of cannabis differ across the state,” the organization wrote on its website. “WACA will support legislation allowing local control of ordinances that would create rules regulating consumption lounges for adults over the age of 21.”
AP reporters Ben Nuckols in Washington, D.C.; Gene Johnson in Seattle; Bob Salsberg in Boston; Michael Blood in Los Angeles; Alison Noon in Carson City, Nevada; Joe Danborn in Denver; and Patrick Whittle in Portland, Maine, and Mark Thiessen in Anchorage, Alaska, contributed to this report.
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