Could a Coffee Joint Be Coming Here? [PHIL-OSOPHY]
With recreational marijuana legal here, adults can buy a joint, but except for their homes—as long as they're not federally subsidized—there are few places where customers can legally smoke it.
Move over Dunkin' and Starbuck's, Governor Charlie Baker is embracing the idea of a marijuana "social consumption" pilot program for possible future pot coffee shops, cafés and lounges across the state.
Smoking marijuana is not allowed in public spaces so far. Could pot change America's bar culture? The focus so far has been on the sale and processing of marijuana, not the places it can be smoked or eaten, but that could be changing. The National Restaurant Association estimates by 2021, marijuana restaurants could generate $22.6 billion in business, but some speed bumps need to be negotiated.
For one thing, liability is a big issue that needs clear understanding. What happens if a customer overindulges? For another, marijuana consumption is harder to measure than bloodstream alcohol. There's no equivalent to a breathalyzer for marijuana to gauge intoxication levels. And add to the list the ongoing problem of banks not handling revenues generated from marijuana sales because cannabis is still illegal on the federal level, and banks are federally regulated.
So will we get a coffee joint or big green arches on the SouthCoast someday?
Don't hold your breath. Sorry for my bluntness.
Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.