Michigan’s First Cannabis Lounge, the bar alternative
Entrepreneur Anna Germaine has opened what’s billed as the state’s first cannabis consumption lounge in Genessee County, just north of Flint.
Now in its second month of operation, the simply named “Rec Center” is a place where adults can gather and consume cannabis somewhere other than their homes—in the company of other people.
“We’re very much into the medicinal aspects [of cannabis],” says Rec Center manager Lindsey Price, “but we also want people to be able to just hang out and enjoy smoking with friends. In Genesee County, how many liquor licenses do we have here? A lot. I want to have that kind of environment where you can have fun without the alcohol.”
Customers are encouraged to bring your own bud (BYOB), although The Rec Center does offer a small amount of cannabis for free with the rental of a game—roughly the equivalent of a joint per hourly rental. The offer takes advantage of Michigan’s cannabis gifting law, which allows for small quantities of marijuana to be given as a gift but not sold, and means visitors don’t have to swing by a dispensary beforehand if all they’re looking for is a quick round of ping pong.
‘No Hassle From the Law’
While there have been a few consumption lounges in Michigan, they’ve always been for medical patients only—until now. The Rec Club is the first consumption lounge open to all adults in the state. But despite the novelty of social cannabis consumption, the Rec Club’s first few weeks of operation have been surprisingly hassle-free.
“We’ve had no hassle from the law,” said Price, noting that someone from the township came down when the lounge first opened, mistaking the operation for a dispensary, but was satisfied once they saw the business was operating as an entertainment space, per its zoning.