EASTHAMPTON, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- As several western Massachusetts businesses receive their recreational marijuana licenses today, the Cannabis Control Commission now turns its attention to pot cafes.
A subcommittee of the commission now recommends issuing licenses for social pot consumption sites and delivery services in the state.
In Easthampton, there is a placeholder in their city ordinance to allow for social consumption of marijuana, once the full Cannabis Control Commission gives them the okay.
"I think it's a really important first step, this recommendation," said social consumption activist Karima Rizk.
Rizk said that the Cannabis Control Commission subcommittee is on the right track when it comes to pot cafes.
"I would argue that social consumption sites including cannabis coffeehouses give a safer alternative to consuming cannabis, rather than driving in a vehicle or being outside in an unsafe situation," Rizk noted.
Rizk added that social consumption sites offer everyone the ability to exercise their right to consume marijuana which, right now, can be difficult if you don't own a home.
"People who live in Section 8 housing, some veterans, we're talking about people who even rent. In another category would be responsible parents who don't want to bring cannabis products into their house. People aren't really looking to just party," Rizk noted.
The leadership in Easthampton is backing her up.
In a statement to Western Mass News, city councilor Owen Zaret said, "The ordinance subcommittee was in favor of establishing social consumption spaces for cannabis in Easthampton. Social consumption creates parity with alcohol in regards to consumption."
Rizk added, "I think it's really important that any cannabis establishment offers safe alternative to driving."
For those who can consume at home, Rizk said that the recreational pot delivery services also approved by the subcommittee have solid roots in medical marijuana transports that are already in place.
"For example, two people in a vehicle at all times with a cannabis product, having the product locked physically in a cage in the vehicle, there's a lot of really good common sense best practices," Rizk said.
The subcommittee announced their recommendation for pot cafes and delivery services yesterday. The full Cannabis Control Commission is expected to the issue next week.