The 5 Point Café, a popular and landmark café near the Space Needle in Seattle wishes to add a new spice to their selection—marijuana.
Restaurant owner David Meinert hopes to cash in on the recent legalization of weed to add a new edge and definition to high quality dining.
He hopes that existing laws and licensing can be changed to facilitate the service of marijuana infused products on an on-premise basis. Current state law does not allow consumption of marijuana in businesses licensed to sell the commodity. Further complicating his goal is that administrative law forbids liquor licensees selling marijuana or marijuana products. This will likely be a long term campaign by similar minded businesses due to resistance from the state Liquor and Cannabis Board.
Mr. Meinert believes the lack of inclusion for on-premise in Initiative 502, which legalized and regulated marijuana in the state, provided a fatal flaw in the purpose of the measure.
In an interview with KOMO News, he stated:
“I think we should start pushing the issue now. It’s a real thing. Customers want it. If lawmakers don’t do something about, I’ll look into running an initiative like they are doing in Denver.”
While I personally believe marijuana legalization is beneficial I have concerns with licensed on-premise consumption. I believe unlike consumption in non-public places, permitting consumption in bars in restaurants will increase significantly DUI arrests and collisions.
The vast majority of alcohol related DUI arrests and collisions results from alcohol consumption at on-premise licensees such as bars, taverns, and restaurants. Consuming THC laden strain of marijuana at bars and restaurants will likely, though to a lesser degree, mirror that of alcohol.
Further complicating the issue is the amount of absorbed dosage in the body. THC marijuana edibles often take fifteen minutes or more to be absorbed into the body before the high is achieved. Moreover, the customer is not likely to know the amount of marijuana infused into the food or beverage product, whereas with alcoholic beverages, the public is aware of the approximate effects of a particular beverage and the quantity consumed. This provides the ability to roughly gauge a limit to be consumed. With a THC food product made without quality controls this might be more difficult. Edible products in marijuana retailers are required to submit to quality control levels for THC content and provide labeling of THC of percentages just as alcoholic beverages are on the federal and state levels.
A mitigating factor statistically is the number of marijuana DUI arrests is small but the ability to consume at licensed retailers is presently illegal. With the delayed effect of consumables this might increase; though the same can be said of alcohol.
Of course, very low THC strains of marijuana could be a middle ground. But, unless used for medicinal purposes, realistically would most customers buy marijuana cookies if they couldn’t get stoned?
By Darren Smith
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