Marijuana

Medical-Marijuana "Vapor Lounge" in West Valley Allows Patients to Toke Up, Rent Bongs and Hang Out

A group of medical-marijuana dispensary owners at the State Capitol 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.

See also: Poll: Most Arizona Voters Support Medical-Marijuana Act; 59 Percent Would Legalize Pot

See also: Arizona Organix Steps Out as the State's First Authorized Medical-Marijuana Dispensary

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.