Worcester claims marijuana club misled city officials

BY Zachary Comeau

Courtesy/Summit Lounge
Courtesy/Summit Lounge
The Summit Lounge in Worcester.

Worcester officials say they were not aware a private club that opened last week on Water Street would allow the smoking of cannabis within its doors.
In a statement City Manager Edward Augustus said the operators of the Summit Lounge did not disclose its true intent to allow members to consume cannabis products and smoke marijuana. 
The club "has exploited a loophole in the 2017 Marijuana Act as well as the draft regulations,” Augustus said. “The City of Worcester has submitted written testimony to the Cannabis Control Commission that the loophole must be closed and private ‘bring your own marijuana’ clubs must be addressed.” 
Smoking in public places is still illegal, but the club is a private association. Therefore, smoking is allowed in the building. 
The city is issuing a letter to any entity planning to do the same saying all bylaws, codes and ordinances will be strictly enforced, Augustus said. Legally, the city can't force the Summit Lounge to close.
The CCC, a public body set up to regulate the legal marijuana industry, is currently developing regulations to address the retail sale of cannabis products. 
The CCC could not immediately be reached for comment Monday.
Massachusetts voters legalized the use of the drug in November 2017, and businesses will be able to apply for licenses to sell the product in April, and they can being those sales in July.
Last Friday, General Manager Kyle Moon told the WBJ all necessary city approvals were obtained.
The club obtained a smoking and occupancy permit, City Hall spokesman Michael Vigneux said Monday.
The club, which has since affixed the term "private" to it's Facebook page, sells memberships for $50. Members can consume cannabis inside the club, which also offers pipes and bongs for use.
When reached by phone Monday, Moon said the club told the city that anything legal to smoke in Massachusetts would be smoked in the club. 
"We're open to field any concerns that the city or community would have," he said.