Las Vegas, Nevada—a picturesque and vibrant city filled with unique attractions, endless gambling, partying into the late night and early morning, and recreationally legal cannabis. If this description resonated with you at all, you may be a Vegas regular or someone who craves fun social experiences where the party never stops. Despite cannabis being recreationally legal in Nevada, the city is home to millions of tourists annually. Specifically, on a yearly basis, around 42 million tourists make their way out to Las Vegas, and most of these travelers have no options regarding where to legally smoke cannabis. As a result of this problem, Tick Segerblom, one of Nevada’s legislature decided to step in and push for the legalization of cannabis consumption lounges. Although this proposal has been in the works for a while now, it’s looking like cannabis consumption lounges will be legal at some point this year.
Growing Demand for Cannabis Consumption Lounges in Las Vegas:
Currently, cannabis is medically and recreationally legal in Nevada, and the state’s recreational cannabis market has significantly boomed in just one year while raking in millions of dollars. Whether you’re planning a trip to Las Vegas, Reno, or Burning Man in the future, if you’re at least 21 years old, you can legally purchase various cannabis products at licensed Nevada dispensaries. However, it can be tricky to find a place where you can legally light up a joint or bowl without worrying about getting fined or arrested.
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Due to the significant success Nevada’s cannabis industry has experienced thus far, there’s a growing demand and interest in the establishment of legal cannabis smoke lounges. Since August of this year, Las Vegas officials have been putting effort into opening Nevada’s first cannabis lounges. Their initial goal was to open them by the end of this 2018 year, but now it’s looking more like early 2019. The cannabis lounge proposal that has been brought to lawmakers’ attention calls for the following:
-Legal quantities of cannabis being consumed by individuals aged 21 years old and up
-Lounges must be located and operated next door to a legal licensed dispensary
Despite having to follow these requirements, hypothetical cannabis lounge owners wouldn’t have to attain a state cannabis establishment license.
Must-Know Details about Nevada’s Cannabis Consumption Lounges Proposal:
In addition, Tick Segerblom has been trying to convince state lawmakers to approve of cannabis consumption lounges in unincorporated Clark County and the Las Vegas Strip for quite some time. He has made progress, but changes are still being made to the initial cannabis lounge proposal. For example, the first draft mentions that the lounge owners would be permitted to sell various forms of cannabis paraphernalia including bongs, pipes, bowls, lighters, and joint and cigarette papers. The only products that lounge owners cannot sell are all cannabis products.
Then, as expected, there are other requirements that cannabis lounge owners would have to meet in order to legally operate once this proposal passes. One requirement is that customers who visit and smoke within the lounge cannot be seen by the public. In other words, if the lounges have already existing outdoor patios or rooftops, cannabis cannot be smoked there. Also, lounge owners would be allowed to charge customers a cover fee. It’s also likely that lounge owners would be allowed to serve food if the food doesn’t contain any cannabis, according to the content of a new ordinance.
Additionally, it would be legal to serve alcoholic beverages if they contain less than eleven percent alcohol in volume and only be served in a separate room from the smoking area. Currently, it’s still unclear as to if Nevada will cap the amount of cannabis lounges that can open. On the plus side though, more than twelve cannabis license holders have expressed their strong interest in opening a cannabis lounge after the state ordinance is officially complete.
Recent Efforts Made to Raise Awareness and Momentum About Cannabis Smoking Lounges:
At this time, Nevada state law doesn’t clearly give permission to the opening of cannabis consumption lounges. However, the effort that Tick Segerblom has put into this proposal recently is noteworthy. In one letter addressed from Legislative Counsel, Brenda Erdoes to Senator Tick Segerblom, Brenda mentioned that cannabis lounges would be allowed on a local level. However, this would only take place if cannabis wasn’t used unlawfully.
In general, though, this past year, a significant amount of progress has been made regarding this proposal despite a couple of delays mid-year. Thus far, two public workshops were held by city officials to discuss the cannabis consumption lounge proposal further. In the midst of Nevada’s delay with the cannabis lounge proposal, both San Francisco and Denver opened their own cannabis consumption lounges. Segerblom took this as a sign to observe what did and didn’t work with San Francisco and Denver’s cannabis lounges so certain aspects could be applied to Nevada’s future cannabis smoking lounges.
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In early November, Segerblom and seven other Nevada legislators in the form of five representatives from Nevada’s state assembly and a North Las Vegas councilman traveled to San Francisco on a one-day fact finding tour to observe and learn from the dos and don’ts of their cannabis lounges.
Segerblom expressed his interest in San Francisco’s system, and he wants to use it as a template for future Nevada cannabis lounges. He went on to express the following statement regarding his desired involvement in this project: “I want to be involved in drafting the ordinance. The goal is to get these pot lounges up and running, get marijuana out of our casinos and hotels, and get it off the streets.”
Next Steps Regarding Future Legalization of Cannabis Consumption Lounges in Nevada:
Furthermore, Segerblom’s main goal is to open legal cannabis lounges on the Las Vegas Strip and in Southern parts of Nevada. However, approval is needed from state authorities first. Then, before any official decisions are made by Nevada lawmakers about this proposal, Clark County commissioners will keep waiting to receive guidance from the 2019 Nevada Legislature. If this proposal goes through, Nevada would be the very first U.S. state to legally license cannabis consumption lounges.
In the near future, Las Vegas will become a well-known social cannabis consumption hub if all goes to plan with the state’s cannabis lounge proposal. On a nationwide scale, there’s an increasing demand for cannabis and CBD. However, the demand is at an all-time high in Las Vegas, and cannabis consumption lounges will only bring in more tourists, good vibes, and lots of revenue. If cannabis consumption lounges opened on the Las Vegas strip next year, would you check them out?
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