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Baker says a marijuana lounge pilot program would ‘make a lot of sense’

Governor Charlie Baker appeared this week to be open-minded to the possibility of a pilot program for marijuana social consumption lounges, ahead of a meeting where cannabis regulators are expected to discuss potential policies for the venues.
Governor Charlie Baker appeared this week to be open-minded to the possibility of a pilot program for marijuana social consumption lounges, ahead of a meeting where cannabis regulators are expected to discuss potential policies for the venues.(Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff)

Governor Charlie Baker appeared this week to be open-minded to the possibility of a pilot program for marijuana social consumption lounges, ahead of a meeting where cannabis regulators are expected to discuss potential policies for the venues.

Baker said decisions about consumption sites are “up to the [Cannabis Control Commission]” but said on Monday that a pilot program would be a good way to determine the “positives and negatives” of the potential addition to the industry.

“It’s not up to me,” Baker told reporters at the State House. “It’s up to the CCC. What I’ve said many times about most of the issues associated with the roll-out of recreational marijuana is it’s really important that they, the CCC, understand what they’re doing and why they’re doing it as they make these decisions.”

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When a reporter asked whether a pilot program for social consumption would be helpful, Baker said he’s a “big believer in doing demonstrations and pilots.”

“I think the issues around, sort of, enforcing the general rules of the game associated with how recreational marijuana is going to work when you get into the social consumption sites, and all that comes with it, are really hard and are really complicated. I think doing it on a pilot basis would make a lot of sense,” he said.

His relatively relaxed attitude on social consumption is a stark turnaround from last year, when his administration sent a series of letters urging cannabis regulators to hold off for now on opening consumption sites.

At the time, members of Baker’s administration had urged cannabis regulators to hit the pause button on their plans for social consumption locations as they focused on licensing traditional retail stores.

The Cannabis Control Commission will discuss social consumption at a public meeting Thursday at 50 Milk St. in Boston. The meeting begins at 10 a.m.

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Matt Stout of the Globe Staff contributed to this report. Felicia Gans can be reached at felicia.gans@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @FeliciaGans.