NJ begins considering rules for marijuana consumption lounges

New Jersey’s recreational marijuana industry keeps slogging toward its debut, with applications to expand five medical dispensaries now deemed complete – though still being reviewed. Another three are still incomplete.

Applications filed in December for new cultivation and manufacturing businesses won’t be decided on by a mid-March target date, but regulators hope it won’t be long after that.

But the Cannabis Regulatory Commission is also looking ahead to what the industry will look like once it gets off the ground so held a public hearing Thursday on what its rules should include regarding indoor and outdoor marijuana consumption lounges.

Suzaynn Schick, an associate professor at the University of California, San Francisco who studies air pollution and smoking, said smoking and vaping lounges aren’t safe for the people who work there, as cannabis smoke has the same potential health effects as smoke from cigarettes.

Schick said research in California found levels of air pollution in dispensaries were “off the charts.”

“There is a strong risk that it’s going to increase the risk of asthma attacks, heart attacks and strokes immediately, when people are exposed,” Schick said. “As in, when I say immediately, within minutes.”

Scheril Murray Powell of the cannabis consulting firm Green Sustainable Strong said places with consumption spaces haven’t experienced the alarming scenario Schick describes. [Read more at NJ 101.5]

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