By Jim Means
On a nice early spring weekend in the beginning of March, I surprised my wife with a weekend trip south to check out a couple onsite cannabis consumption lounges. I wanted to provide her with a unique experience for her birthday. A published article earlier that week in Illinois News Joint about an onsite cannabis consumption lounge had intrigued me. So we headed out with some of our finest strains in tow.
The Luna Lounge was slated as the first stop, located in Sesser, a town of just more than 1,500 residents. We get there a few minutes before they open, and there was no signs of life. We wondered if it was going to open at 4 p.m., as it said online. We took a quick scenic drive to Rend Lake and back to find there was now a car parked outside the lounge.
The old bank building has been an iconic tavern in Sesser for years. Once inside, music played with nobody in site. The room was dimly lit with a stage area and a large congregation of comfy furniture strategically located to be within reach of one another. We make our way to the open vault and find an assortment clothes, pipes, general accessories and supplies. It was then that we startled the owner of the lounge, Mama Luna.
Mama Luna was a delight, a motivated individual and more than happy to discuss her journey opening the lounge. The Luna Lounge was the first of its kind in Illinois and had gained notoriety from a couple news articles. She talked about the tribulations and complications establishing rules for the state for something that has never existed. Ultimately, the licensing comes down to being in compliance with the smoking act that originally applied to cigarettes, zoning, and municipal support.
Luna Lounge provided a space that definitely felt like it quickly would form a party atmosphere. Luna Lounge books entertainment regularly, everything from DJs to songwriters to full on bands. They offered snacks, hemp derived products, and friendly conversation. We weren’t able to stay long enough to mingle with many other patrons who were coming in, but we did enjoy our short stay. We are looking forward to returning.
Our next stop was Harrisburg Illinois. The Hideaway at Three Mile Farm was a very comfortable and more upscale feel in contrast to The Luna Lounge. The Hideaway was dimly lit with nice Edison fixtures and rough sawn wood on the walls. A very talented singer songwriter performed on stage, which was a great fit for the establishment.
The paraphernalia offered at the Hideaway was all handblown American glass. The owner and his wife, originally from Illinois had moved to Colorado, where they had worked in the cannabis industry and returned to run a farm and subsequently open the Hideaway. The owner himself was accommodating, very knowledgeable and passionate. A handful of locals were eager to say hello and offered a nice social aspect.
Although both lounges we visited offered experiences that were quite a contrast between the two, we enjoyed having places to safely consume cannabis in public. Undoubtedly, more consumption lounges will be popping up across the state. Myself not being a big drinker, I am looking forward to being able to socialize in that element.
If you’re in Southern Illinois, I encourage you to stop by these lounges and experience the beginning of what hopefully will become a trend across the state. I look forward to the day when on-site consumption lounges are normalized as much as local pubs.
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