As the national cannabis holiday of April 20 passed over the weekend, Sessions by the Bay, a soon-to-be National City cannabis consumption lounge and dispensary, is one day closer to opening in the fall of 2024.

The nearly 16,000-square-foot canna lounge will be the first in San Diego County. The lounge, which reportedly has a partnership with the Sycuan Tribal Development Corporation, will be located in a two-story building at 700 Bay Marina Drive, the former location of California College San Diego.

Weed smokers can purchase a diamond-infused joint from the dispensary within the same building, spark it up, and smoke it with some buddies in plain sight. The puff puff pass ritual won’t feel as taboo as it did before Proposition 64 passed in 2016 when California legalized the recreational use of marijuana. “And more so in 1996, when Cali passed Proposition 215 (Compassionate Use Act) when we became the first state in the U.S. to legalize medical marijuana,” recounted Chula Vistan Ricky Lee in a recent interview. “Almost 30 years later, look at us now, with hundreds of dispos in San Diego [County], and now this. Open, open, open!” Like hundreds of other cannabis patients and rec users online, Lee can’t wait for Sessions by the Bay to open this fall.

But not everyone was celebrating the prospects of our county’s first legitimate canna lounge.

National City Mayor Ron Morrison has opposed the canna business since it was initially proposed. As a council member then, he was the only person who voted against it.

“There’s not much of a track record on lounges, and we are a small city,” Morrison said in a mainstream news interview. “We aren’t going to have a lot of oversight enforcement or anything else. That’s difficult. So I’m still staying on the safe route.”

Jeremy, a local artist and father, agreed with Morrison and added, “The spot’s close to Kimball Elementary School — and TBH, we as the community were not involved in the discussions. They never gave us a say in the matter.”

The Department of Cannabis Control government site states the law says we cannot smoke cannabis within “1,000 feet of a school, daycare center or youth center while kids are present.” But Sessions by the Bay, located on the industrial side of the city, just west of the 5 freeway, is .7 miles or about 3,700 feet away from Kimball Elementary School. The lounge’s location is way past the legal distance for people sparking up a bowl, a rig, or a pre-roll.

Jeremy continued, “Another issue I foresee is the place might bring in a lot of heat, and we here at National City have a shortage of cops. Sometimes, we have to borrow some from Chula Vista. I don’t think the city thought it out too well — how will they police this area? It will pop when it opens, and bars and restaurants will follow.”

The buzz is making its rounds online about the canna-friendly place to chillax, listen to music, grab a bite and drink, and watch the sunset over the Pacific Ocean to its west. It’s only a couple of blocks away from San Diego Bay. It will be the only legit canna lounge in San Diego and one of a handful in Southern California.

An Instagrammer wondered, “Is there any plans for safe transportation offered to and from the lounge? Not trying to get a DUI, and I’m sure there will be a bunch of cops waiting for people to pull out of the lounge.”

The sesh lounge responded: “We will have an Uber/Lyft dropoff and pickup. We also will have a last call with time to cool down. Otherwise, this should be no different than any other restaurant, bar, or club venue in that regard.”

The lounge’s co-owner, Alex Ayon, assured San Diegans in a previous news story that their canna spot will be “A safe space to consume cannabis has always been a big hope of ours, and we’re there now, so we’re excited to provide that for the community. People are getting checked in. We’re going to be making sure that they are abiding by the rules and regulations.”

Lee, whom I spoke to earlier in the article, continued, “With the proximity to the bay and bike routes, this place will be a perfect place to park our bikes for a quick sesh. The place is going to draw tourists who will spend lots of money—and not just smokers flying in from Texas or Georgia, where cannabis is not legal, but from all over the world. Happy 420 day!”

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