Hot Box Social in Hazel Park has become the state’s first licensed recreational cannabis consumption lounge.
The event space owned by Troy-based Trucenta is the first business in the state to get approval to let patrons openly smoke and otherwise consume cannabis products on-site, it announced in a news release Wednesday. State records confirm the license was approved.
The state has allowed consumption lounge licenses, alongside retail, cultivation, transporting and other kinds of marijuana businesses, since recreational use sales officially began in late 2019. But businesses seeking license types that let people gather, including consumption lounges and temporary consumption events, have been slower to materialize, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While at least a half-dozen consumption lounges are in the works, including in Kalkaska, Ann Arbor and Kalamazoo, Hot Box Social is first to the finish line.
The business at 23610 John R Road north of Nine Mile Road has already been open for educational cannabis-related events, like learning how to market products or be a budtender, without consumption. But now that it has the license, it is taking bookings for private cannabis consumption events, with a maximum capacity of 200 people. But it doesn’t expect to open to the wider public until this summer.
“Our hope is that Hot Box Social will be used to bring a new experience for companies hosting brainstorming meetings, friends who are gathering for private parties, and one-of-a-kind fundraisers to raise money for nonprofit organizations,” Nowfal Akash, Trucenta’s chief information officer, said in the release.
The space is 3,000 square feet indoors. Hot Box Social also plans to open a 5,000-square-foot patio in the summer.
Trucenta runs cannabis stores in Hazel Park and Battle Creek under the Breeze brand. Breeze is also in the process of expanding its shop down the road from Hot Box Social from 1,300 square feet to 4,800.
Consumption lounges, under state rules, do not allow customers to buy cannabis on site. Customers can get cannabis delivered or bring it in themselves after buying it elsewhere. Generally the consumption lounge businesses make money either through retail sales nearby, charging an entrance fee or selling tickets for events like concerts and art fairs.