If you’re looking to smoke weed “out and about” in Massachusetts, there’s only one place you can do it legally – a cannabis consumption lounge in Worcester.
Cannabis Creative recently chatted with Kyle Moon, owner of The Summit Lounge, about how his team provides a safe, clean, and stigma-free atmosphere for people of all walks of life to socialize and enjoy cannabis.
Read on to see what you can expect when visiting the Commonwealth’s only weed lounge. Learn some of the rules and check out the club’s tasty treats.
CCG: Why do you think there aren’t many consumption lounges in Massachusetts even though dispensaries are everywhere?
Kyle Moon: It comes down to regulations. I think the state and the commission have this idea of walking before you run. Social consumption is where the industry’s going to end up, but that’s not where it needs to start. You need all that infrastructure. Now we’re four years into it and they’re starting to talk about social consumption.
What challenges have you faced in marketing and getting the brand out there?
We run into people all the time that are just like, “We didn’t know you were here.” And we wanted it to be that way. We wanted it to be word of mouth. We wanted to really build that community. We wanted a brand that was more private, that was more community oriented.
I wanted a slow burn. I wanted to build it over time, and I wanted to build the community around us that actually mattered and had an impact in the cannabis space. And I’m not a marketing guy, so it presented a lot of logistical challenges as well. We focused more on the consumer experience and let the members do the marketing for us.
How does visiting the cannabis lounge work? Can people just walk in, or do they need to pay for a membership?
The way we do it, everyone gets a lifetime membership and then we charge per use of the facilities. Everyone has to be over 21 years old. They bring their ID, they come in, and we walk them through the membership process. We explain what you’re going to experience, some of our rules, some of the regulations, stuff like that. And then they sign the membership agreement and join the club.
Is the membership free? Do you pay as you go, or do you have to pay a flat fee for the membership?
There is no fee for the membership. We charge every member per use of the facilities. Our use fee on a regular night is $10. So, you pay the $10 and then you can come in and you get full access to the club.
We didn’t feel right where one member who hardly ever comes in pays the same as a member who uses it every day. We feel if you’re using it every day, you should carry more of the cost, versus that member that comes in once or twice a month.
What are the rules for cannabis inside the lounge? Can you smoke? Can you eat edibles? Can you share with your friends?
We don’t regulate cannabis. We allow members to consume anything that’s legal in Massachusetts in the lounge. You can smoke anywhere in the building. If you want to come in and eat a 100-milligram edible or a 25-milligram edible, that’s on the person. If you want to come in and smoke a two-ounce blunt, obviously that’s illegal. So, you shouldn’t be bringing two ounces into the lounge. But if you wanted to come in and smoke an ounce, that’s perfectly up to the individual. We keep a very close eye on the level of intoxication.
Is the policy to bring your own cannabis? If someone comes in with nothing, you can’t sell them cannabis, right?
No. We refer you to either Diem, Major Bloom, or Good Chemistry. Those are dispensaries within walking distance of the lounge. We’re the place to come and smoke it, but we don’t provide it. We’ve got everything you need except for the weed.
You don’t serve alcohol, but what about food and drinks?
Milkshakes. We kill it with the milkshake people. We usually have four or five milkshakes depending on the season. And then we’ll switch them every couple months. Our peanut butter breath is insane – it has Reese’s, a Snickers bar, chocolate, and peanut butter syrup. It’s quite the production.
We imagine the lounge can get smokey. How do you ensure it’s a clean environment?
That’s what we really try to focus on. We have standard operating procedures. We wipe down every one of the tables. We clean every one of the ashtrays. We clean the bathroom. We take out all the garbage. We sweep.
We have four industrial smoke eaters that turn over the air seven times every 10 minutes. And what they do is pull the air through a carbon filter and essentially clean the air and then spit it back out into the room. So, it’s a self-contained cleaning system. What you’ll see is everyone will obviously light up and it will get pretty smokey. But within 10 or 15 minutes, it’s like a normal room again.
And smoking tobacco isn’t allowed, right?
No. It used to be allowed, but then we got the food license. And in the regulations, it says you’re not allowed to consume tobacco where food is being prepared. So, we opted to nix the tobacco. And it worked out better because a lot of our members didn’t like it.
Have you made any changes to the lounge or the way you operate based on customer feedback?
Oh yeah, 100%. One of the big criticisms was that we didn’t provide adequate food, but we allow order in. We received money from the disaster relief loan, and the first thing we did was invest in a kitchen.
A lot of our events are held by a member for other members, so those events are based on what the membership wants. We’re a private membership association, so we’re built for the members. We take the membership feedback very seriously and try to adjust.
What are some of the most popular types of events at the lounge? Do you have anything coming up?
We have a game night. We have educational events. We have a comedy show. And we sometimes have live performances by members. We do open mic nights. We did a drag show.
And then we allow members to rent out the lounge for birthday parties or Christmas parties. We have a whole host of events.