COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — It’s a busy afternoon at The Lazy Lion, a members-only marijuana club in this notoriously conservative city. Inside the windowless one-story building in an industrial part of town, attendees who’ve paid the club’s $5 daily membership fee line up at a glass bar to acquire bags of marijuana or take hits from one of the establishment’s water pipes, for which they hand over a cash “reimbursement” (under Colorado law, people aren’t allowed to consume cannabis at locations licensed to sell marijuana).
Colorado Springs has banned recreational-marijuana shops in the city, but its zoning laws allow for private clubs, which is where establishments such as The Lazy Lion fit in. These sorts of gathering places are desperately needed, says the club’s general manager, Aaron Stone. “A lot of time on the retail side, people leave the stores with misinformation, and don’t know how to use what they buy,” he says, noting that in its two-and-a-half year run, The Lazy Lion has played host to job interviews, homework sessions and even post-wedding celebrations.
But would Colorado tourists or marijuana novices really feel at ease inside a place such as The Lazy Lion? And if not, where should people go to consume cannabis with their peers? Marijuana, with its pass-the-joint cultural heritage, has always been a social drug. But so far, recreational-marijuana laws have steadfastly avoided dealing with the social parameters of cannabis use. Colorado and other states that have legalized marijuana have outlawed public cannabis consumption, but what about consumption behind closed doors and among consenting adults? It’s a conundrum that has major financial and social implications for the developing legal marijuana industry.
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