Kansas City Entertainment District is taking a new approach to cannabis consumption lounges

News of a new entertainment district in the Kansas City area — which is set to include cannabis-consumption areas when it opens next year — appears to be both part of the ongoing normalization of marijuana use in the U.S. and an evolution of a business model that’s struggling has done to gain a foothold.

The difference between the proposed Smokey River Entertainment District in River Bend, a suburb of Kansas City, and other previous cannabis consumption lounge attempts is that supporters initially plan to be an entertainment business in which marijuana will play a supporting role, but not count towards actual revenue Electricity. It’s just an added attraction.

Smokey River announcement finale

“That’s exactly one of the reasons we’re setting this up the way we are,” said Joey Pintozzi, vice president of marketing and operations at Besa Hospitality Group, the company behind the sprawling offering.

Pintozzi said he and his partners – who have backgrounds in the entertainment industry in Florida and Las Vegas – are all aware of how many previous attempts to set up consumption lounges in other states have not gone well, largely because they are from real Excluding marijuana sales itself, making it difficult to find a sustainable revenue stream or business model.

“First and foremost, this is an entertainment district through and through,” Pintozzi said, going through the laundry list of attractions, from concert halls to festivals and more. “Suppose you go to your favorite restaurant and they have a smoking lounge… that’s it. It normalizes cannabis.”

Many logistical details are still being worked out – such as the number of square meters of consumption space, how indoor and outdoor consumption will be organized and whether there will be any restrictions for visitors.

“So far we’re talking about the drinks, the flowers and vapes. We look at every aspect of it,” Pintozzi said. “The state is pretty clear about what you can do with cigarettes and how you have to operate in a place that has food and a hospitality business … so it’s going to be very similar.”

Pintozzi also holds the same title as vice president of marketing at BesaMe Wellness, a licensed medical marijuana company with five retail locations, and said visitors to the Smokey River Entertainment District will have many opportunities to purchase cannabis at nearby stores or in Kansas City itself buy where pharmacies are thriving in the last two years.

At some point, retail cannabis could overlap with the entertainment district, Pintozzi said, but for now it’s all about giving marijuana users a chance “to be like everyone else.”

“I was a bit worried about how people would take it because of the cannabis aspect. And I can’t believe how much the people of Kansas City have loved this project for the last 48 hours,” Pintozzi said Friday after the news about Smokey River broke earlier in the week.

“Everyone has been very supportive,” he said. “This stems from the advancement in the cannabis world. The stigma, we’re finally starting to see it going away. The ban disappears.”

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