By Ray Stern
Images: Ray Stern
Patrons at the Arizona Vapor Lounge in the west Valley belly up to a bar covered by bongs, not beer mugs, as a staff member looks on.
A group of medical-marijuana dispensary owners at the State Capital yesterday afternoon urged authorities to shut down unregulated cannabis clubs.
Meanwhile, up the road in a small, west Valley strip mall, medical-marijuana patients toked up openly in a “lounge” that has the look, feel, and scent of a Dutch coffeeshop.
It’s similar to a drinking establishment, but rented glass bongs rest on the bar instead of mugs of beer. Patrons can buy snacks and sodas, not alcoholic beverages. Colored, dimmed lights hang help provide a mellow atmosphere, A high-def TV plays music from YouTube; and video games are available upon request.
The entrepreneur behind the Arizona Vapor Lounge, BIll Hayes, says his business is a budding franchise: He expects 14 similar lounges across the state to open in the next two months.