Small mercies, as they say………
Coconut Club revealed Wednesday that it was adding a new menu item to its delivery options: cannabis. The island-inspired eatery’s “Breezy Easy Beach Pack,” set to be available this weekend, would include Spam fried rice, a Pacifico beer, a koozie, and either three pre-rolled joints or an eighth of flower, as reported by Washington City Paper.
But in an email sent to DCist just hours after the announcement, owner and chef Adam Greenberg says the restaurant is holding off on rolling out the program, as he’s been told that local cannabis regulations would stand in the way.
In a statement shared with City Paper, Greenberg said he had been “told by reliable sources that the Department of Health, DCRA, and MPD would threaten to shut us down” if the restaurant moved forward.
Greenberg had planned to collaborate with doorstop smoke shop Joint Delivery on the package, which would be available Thursdays-Saturdays. But after the news was made public on Twitter, some shared concerns about the legality of the program, saying it could put his liquor license at risk. Greenberg replied that he had consulted his lawyers and determined that it was safe because Joint Delivery would be distributing the cannabis, not Coconut Club.
“If my lawyers are wrong, then that’s another issue,” he wrote. “I’m definitely asking and looking more into this, but we couldn’t deliver alcohol five weeks ago either.”
D.C. restaurants have rushed to adapt to the limitations brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Last month, the D.C. Council passed an emergency bill that, among other things, allowed local restaurants and bars to serve alcohol via carryout or delivery, as long it’s sold with “prepared food.”
However, there have been no such updates with regard to cannabis. In D.C., residents over 21 years old are allowed to possess up to two ounces of marijuana and grow plants at home, but are forbidden from selling it to someone else or consuming it in public spaces. Residents can also “give away” up to an ounce to another person.
A number of local delivery companies include weed as a gift alongside the purchase of other goods, as a means of skirting the regulation. Mayor Bowser unveiled plans for legislation last year to tax and regulate recreational marijuana in D.C, and At-large Councilmember David Grosso has introduced legislation since Initiative 71 became law, but Congress continues to prohibit the District from being able to open recreational dispensaries.
In a statement provided to DCist, Fred Moosally, the director of the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration, said, “Title 25 of the D.C. Code prohibits the holder of a liquor license from allowing its business to be used for an unlawful purpose. Providing cannabis for adult use as part of a larger food and alcohol purchase is illegal in the District of Columbia and does not constitute a gift.”
After Coconut Club announced it was suspending its plans to offer the Breezy Easy Beach Pack, D.C.’s Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio retweeted the news, writing “Prudent.”