BYOC Cannabis Lounges in Pennsylvania and Illinois

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Since the beginning of the movement, legal cannabis users have been encouraged to keep it at home and out of sight. Cannabis, as a controversial subject, has been regulated to private spaces only, and public venues were not licensed to serve or host. The introduction of licensed cannabis lounges is finally changing that standard. But not all in the same ways. Of the seven states that have legalized cannabis lounges, two only permit Cannabis Consumption Lounges. In other words, BYOC.

Pennsylvania and Illinois Go BYOC

The two states to license consumption lounges instead of serving lounges are Pennsylvania and Illinois. In these states, venue owners can get a license to allow open consumption of cannabis, but cannot actually serve open-container cannabis to their guests. BYOC or Bring Your Own Cannabis encourages guests to first go through each state’s current dispensary process, then arrive at the lounge where they can smoke, vape, or edible with friends. They can, however, by
accouterments and a variety of CBD products. Interestingly, other than sharing the BYOC approach to cannabis lounges, the two states have very different cannabis policies.

How BYOC Cannabis Works

BYOC typically means Bring Your Own Container, like BYOB but less specific to bottles. In this case, however, it means Bring Your Own Cannabis. The BYOC policy in Pennsylvania and Illinois effectively lifts a great deal of the responsibility from the shoulders of cannabis lounge owners. Because they are not serving (THC) cannabis, the legal requirements and risk level are far more approachable.

From the perspective of guests, BYOC cannabis lounges are far better than no cannabis lounges at all. Consumption lounges, therefore, focus on making their venues as welcoming and enjoyable as possible. They also typically stock cannabis supplies, glassware, and plenty of CBD goodies that are legal everywhere.

PA MMJ Medical Consumption Lounges

The Pennsylvania cannabis industry or “PA MMJ” as they call it, is medical-only. In order to buy cannabis, residents need a medical marijuana (MMJ) card. In order to enter a licensed cannabis consumption lounge, they will also need to show their PA MMJ card. Pennsylvania has several cannabis consumption lounges that market primarily as CBD lounges. This is because CBD can legally be sold on premise while offering an entourage-effect boost to the cannabis brought under BYOC policies.

Illinois BYOC Cannabis Lounges

In Illinois, recreational cannabis and public dispensaries are legal. Any adult with a valid form of government-issued photo ID can enter a dispensary and buy any form of cannabis. However, the public sale of open-container cannabis is still not permitted. Illinois also provides licenses only for BYOC cannabis consumption lounges. Illinois cannabis lounges can also serve CBD, and usually have a wide selection of accouterments to enjoy one’s cannabis in whatever form it arrives.

The Illinois Cannabis Theater Co-Op

One project in the works is a cannabis grow-op and dispensary co-op in Springfield. The hopeful proprietor plans to transform an abandoned AMC movie theater into a shared cannabis venue that may, one day, include big-screen movies as part of a cannabis lounge. If they succeed, this will certainly draw a crowd more than willing to BYOC.

BYOC and a Potential for Partnership

If you are a cannabis operator in Illinois or Pennsylvania, discover if you are near one of the licensed BYOC cannabis consumption lounges. You share a clientele and, in fact, these BYOC lounges rely on local cannabis dispensaries and their supply chains to bring guests with their OC to enjoy on-premises.

Navigating the ever-changing landscape of cannabis regulation can be challenging, but recent developments hold a great deal of promise. For more cannabis industry insights or software designed to streamline your unique cannabis operation needs, contact us today.

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