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Smoking Lounges and Social Clubs - October 2019

By Ben Horner

Flint, MI- Camp Sesh held an educational event for cannabis users, medical marijuana patients and caregivers last month at The Rec Center, Michigan’s first adult use cannabis social club. Days before, Flint’s newest lounge, Beckrock Lounge in Flint,  hosted a book signing with our own John Sinclair. For those who have not had the pleasure of becoming a member at one of these clubs, here is some basic information.

“Compassion Clubs” were the first organizations that started here in Michigan back in 2009 to provide a safe place for patients and caregiver to gather and exchange information and wares. Many have since closed or disbanded, like the Waterford Compassion Club, which held meetings at Everybody’s Cafe before bing raided years ago. Most of the original Compassion Clubs that survived, evolved into modern day “Provisioning Centers”. Genesee Compassion Club is one of the few originals that still exists. With the passing of  Michigan’s legal adult-use of cannabis in 2018, a new concept of Smoking Lounges where people can consume their joints, dabs and edibles onsite became relevant. Compassion Clubs, started calling themselves social clubs/lounges, some with non-profit status, some without. 

John Sinclair signing books at
Bedrock Lounge
Most of these clubs charge an annual membership fee, typically twenty dollars. Some no longer require a medical marijuana card, just a picture ID for people over the age of twenty-one. The biggest appeal is that “vendors”, better known as caregivers, can rent space and sell marijuana products directly to members of the club. Typically these locations have several vendors to choose from. All products that you would find at a standard Provisioning center are available for a fraction of the price. No taxes are paid on products transferred at these locations, as vendors are reimbursed in the form of donations.  Sometimes the cannabis buds and other infused products is significantly better and much cheaper, however not everything is lab tested for safety.

 Lawmakers are considering the future rules for these clubs.  Many squares think that any direct sales of cannabis products should be stopped at these locations. Officials do see the need for public locations to consume marijuana as the state laws prohibit public use. To solve this it has been proposed that Provisioning Centers approved by the state for home delivery could deliver products to registered patients, and eventually every adult over 21, to consumers at the clubs verse at there homes. Menus could be made available to customers right in the lounge. Club members and vendors are concerned that this will increase the cost and further move to eliminate caregivers and other cannabis farmers from covering their costs of cultivating.

These clubs provide a needed place for the exchange of medicine, information and fellowship for the cannabis community. Clubs should work together to lobby for their freedom in Michigan. It would be a shame if the state shuts these places down for a few extra tax dollars.

Camp Sesh vendors included: growTech, Five Sisters, Certified Canna Connoisseur, & Over the Moon Clothing

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