Maryland Just Got Its First Weed Consumption Lounge, Ceylon House
The design of Ceylon House celebrates its founders’ Sri Lankan heritage.
Published on March 11, 2023

Maryland cannabis consumers may be cheering this week, as Ceylon House, the state’s first legal 420 medical consumption lounge, opened in the town of Burtonsville in Montgomery County on March 4, according to The Baltimore Banner.

Due to the state’s restrictions, the site does not sell cannabis — attendees must bring their own to the space, which is “inspired by the tea houses in Sri Lanka,” according to the Ceylon House website. It does, however, feature a banging HVAC air filtration system, couches, Sri Lankan-style wicker furniture, a swinging bamboo chair, and a mural dedicated to Sri Lanka’s Greater Coucal bird. A food truck was stationed outside on opening day, but there are no current plans to prepare food and beverages for customers at the business.

It costs $25 to hang out in Ceylon House for two hours. For the owners of the space, the lounge’s primary importance lies in creating community among medical patients.

“We really wanted to create this space so that folks can meet other people,” co-owner Venushki “Venus” Hemachandra, who opened the space with husband Shreemal Hemachandra, told the The Banner. “Sometimes we hear that someone’s significant other doesn’t like them smoking or that they just don’t have a lot of friends who smoke, and we hope this can help people build community around cannabis.”

The Hemachandras are also the owners of the medical dispensary Herbiculture.

Consumption lounges have been all over the news during the last year — potentially because they represent new business opportunities in legal marijuana markets whose sales have plateaued as of late. Also, because it has traditionally taken states and other jurisdiction more time to work out the regulations involved with having places that are designed for on-site weed smoking and other forms of consumption.

There are some exceptions to all this, of course. Illinois managed to OK its first consumption lounge just weeks after legalizing recreational marijuana. But typically, the process that states have gone through have been more akin to Alaska, where the first consumption lounge was approved six years after voters went all in for adult-use cannabis.

An incomplete review of places where you can find legal lounges: Michigan welcomed its first lounge Hot Box Social a year ago.

During the few months we’ve seen in 2023, there’s been some pretty big-deal plans for consumption lounges that have dropped.

Shortly after New Jersey officials approved regulations for such businesses in December, Wu-Tang Clan’s Raekwon announced plans to open a lounge-enabled location of his Hashtoria stores (the first site located outside of Oregon.) In Atlantic City, a classic hotel that has welcomed Martin Luther King Jr. as a guest dropped the bomb that it will be renovating part of its casino floor to house a two-story consumption lounge as well.

Cannabis-friendly hotels have also been given the green light in Las Vegas (where city officials finally approved consumption lounge regulations at the beginning of the month.)

The corporate-run Marley Naturals line debuted its first “herb house” in Kingston, Jamaica, located at the Bob Marley Museum that has been built on the site of the reggae legend’s home and music studio.  

Follow Caitlin on Instagram, and catch her Spanish-language podcast Crónica on Spotify and Mixcloud.

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Caitlin Donohue
Caitlin Donohue is a Bay Area-raised, Mexico City-based cannabis writer and author of She Represents: 44 Women Who Are Changing Politics and the World. Her weekly show Crónica on Radio Nopal explores Mexican marijuana culture and politics in the prohibition era. Follow Caitlin on IG @byrdwatch.
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