The odds of Las Vegas cannabis consumption lounges coming near the many casinos on the Strip and downtown were always good. But this week city leaders made it official by rejecting a proposed motion to exclude the region of the legal marijuana use businesses.
Nevada voters during the November 2016 election passed the “Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act” through a ballot question. The referendum’s passing legalized the purchase, possession, and consumption of cannabis for adults aged 21 and older.
Seeing a need to create a setting other than private residencies where the permitted consumption of legally purchased cannabis could be consumed, Nevada lawmakers last year passed a bill authorizing marijuana lounges. The Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board (CCB), which governs the state’s cannabis industry, has since developed regulations and governing conditions that will oversee licensed cannabis consumption lounges.
Casinos and Consumption Won’t Mix
The Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board in June finalized its marijuana lounge regulations. The board wrote local cities, municipalities, and unincorporated towns earlier this year about the possibility of legal cannabis consumption lounges coming to their areas unless local leaders wished to opt out of the emerging sector.
During the Las Vegas City Council’s meeting yesterday evening, councilors voted 5-1 against Councilor Victoria Seaman’s effort to exclude the City of Las Vegas from being targeted for a cannabis consumption lounge. Seaman argued that it would be best to first allow such marijuana facilities to open elsewhere throughout the state before allowing them to come to Las Vegas.
North Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City, and Mesquite are among the notable opt-outs. But Las Vegas and the area surrounding the Strip are fair game.
The CCB’s cannabis consumption regulations require that such lounges stay at least 1,500 feet from any state-licensed gaming establishment. That means legal cannabis consumption cannot take place within about a quarter-mile of any casino, gaming tavern, or sportsbook unless it’s inside a private residence.
Nevada casinos must adhere to all federal laws, and with cannabis remaining a Schedule 1 narcotic, the state’s licensed gaming establishments are required to steer clear of the cannabis industry.
Cannabis lounges are also prohibited within 1,000 feet of schools and within 300 feet of community and government facilities, churches, and other places of worship.
The CCB is allowed to issue up to 20 cannabis consumption lounge licenses statewide in the first year after determining the venues’ governing regulations.
Cannabis lounges will provide the more than 40 million tourists who travel to Southern Nevada each year with a place to legally consume their cannabis purchases. Hotel rooms are legally barred from being used for marijuana consumption.
Supporters of cannabis lounges say the venues could help reduce the strong odor of marijuana on the Strip. The businesses will also create new jobs and tax revenue.
I think it’s important for the city to consider the business opportunity that consumption lounges will bring, and also some relief of issues we’re currently hearing about a lot because we’re not offering a place for folks to actually consume when they buy,” Councilor Olivia Diaz told the Las Vegas Review-Journal this week.
Nevada cannabis lounges will permit “ready-to-use” or “single-use” items such as a pre-rolled joint or single-dose edible.
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