Blowin’ Smoke May Get Easier In St. Louis County, Just Not Weed
I saw an interesting article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch talking about how St. Louis County may loosen its indoor smoking laws. So will it include the ability for a business to open up an establishment where patrons can take part in indulging in marijuana smoking?
With the legalization of recreational pot in Missouri I've always thought it would be cool to have places where you can go and relax, similar to a bar or restaurant, where you might meet your friends for a cocktail. Yet, generally, with the exception of the Smoky River Entertainment District in River Bend, it doesn't seem like that's in the cards.
So the article in the Post-Dispatch talking about St. Louis County rejiggering their indoor smoking ban exceptions interested me and sent me down a little bit of a rabbit hole. The Post-Dispatch says, in a different article published February 1, 2023, that they're considering zoning rules that would allow businesses that let customers consume cannabis on-site.
While consuming cannabis on-site may be permitted, smoking or vaping cannabis still won't be permitted unless the County includes marijuana smoking and vaping in its definition of "smoking lounges" which today only includes cigar bars. The expanded definition of a smoking lounge would include hookah lounges, cigar bars, and tobacco clubs, but wouldn't include smoking or consuming marijuana.
The expanded definition of "smoking lounges" is part of a larger bill that would expand the County's definition of smoking to include marijuana and vaping (nicotine and marijuana) and prohibit it anywhere indoor smoking is prohibited in the county. Additionally, the bill will expand the recreational facilities where smoking is prohibited to include playgrounds, picnic shelters, amphitheaters, and trails. This is per the Post-Dispatch article.
The bottom line, it looks like it's going to be a while before you can hang out in a cafe and enjoy a fancy coffee drink while leisurely smoking a joint. Unless, of course, an enterprising town or county sees the opportunity, successfully navigates the anti-smoking, anti-marijuana, and not-in-my-backyard crowds, and can potentially push a law through to permit it.