FIRST MARIJUANA VAPING LOUNGE OPENS IN RHODE ISLAND, COULD THIS IMPACT CONDOMINIUMS?

Published on: February 11, 2015

On Saturday, July 17, 2015, Elevated, Rhode Island’s first medical marijuana vapor lounge, opened for business.

It was a modest opening, with a little more than a dozen customers and potential members dropping by in its first day.

Located in a small storefront on Peck Street, Elevated combines two things — medical marijuana and vaping — that have become prominent in recent years.

Vaporizing drugs — either tobacco or marijuana — instead of burning them has become popular for a number of reasons, including health, but in Rhode Island it has the added advantage of avoiding the state’s indoor smoking ban. (It’s not smoking if there’s no open flame or combustion.)

The combination of medical marijuana and vaping results in a lounge business that, perhaps because of its novelty, is not highly regulated by the city or state.

The opening of Elevated highlights two possible issues for condominiums in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, both of which have recently adopted medical marijuana laws.  First, if your condominium has a smoking ban, does it include marijuana and does that ban extend to vaping?  Vaping is new and most municipalities have not begun to regulate the technology. On January 25, 2015, the State of California Department of Public Health decreed that e-cigarette vaping is a public health hazard.  There have also been numerous documented incidents of exploding e-cigarettes and fires caused by e-cigarettes.  Accordingly, condominium associations may want to revisit their smoking bans and policies to include e-cigarettes or vaping.

Secondly, in light of the uncertainty of the laws relative to marijuana vaping parlors, mixed use condominiums might want to consider adopting bans or prohibitions of such use in their buildings.  Some condominiums have had success banning other undesirable uses in mixed use condominiums, such as methadone or suboxone clinics.

Contact Ed Allcock at eallcock@meeb.com for more information.