By Andrea Nakano

BERKELEY (KPIX 5) — The Berkeley City Council voted “yes” Tuesday night on a proposal to allow cannabis consumption in lounges, or “pot cafes.”

It’s an idea that’s sparked an emotional reaction from the residents. The meeting went late into the night. Opponents are concerned about having a dispensary and smoking lounge at one of the busiest intersections in town.

“If they think that’s the best location, I wonder what a bad locations is. Plus we got no notice for the neighbors of this business about this lounge,” said Carol Denney, Berkeley resident.

Opponents also point out that the proposed location is close to a preschool and library. The dispensary, Berkeley Patients Group, wants to move a few blocks to the intersection of University and San Pablo Avenues.

BPG says it needs the bigger space to operate its business. And the one component the dispensary wants to add is a smoking lounge. BPG says it plans to be a good neighbor and their dispensary will bring some economic life to the area.

“Right now that neighborhood is an eye sore on make it a beautiful space. A nice entrance to the city,” said Lauren Watson with BPG.

The city council also looked at legalizing up to seven cannabis delivery services in Berkeley, expanding the area where marijuana can be commercially grown, and setting up warehouses that can take phone and internet orders.

With the “yes” vote, it now opens the door to having smoking lounges in other areas of the city.

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