Las Vegas marijuana consumption lounges, places where recreational cannabis can be consumed, were legalized throughout Nevada earlier this year.
Nevada’s 2016 recreational marijuana law allows anyone over the age of 21 to legally purchase cannabis. But the legislation led to tourists, travelers, and even resident renters being put into a conundrum: where to consume?
The state’s recreational marijuana law permits consumption only inside privately owned residences. Using legally purchased cannabis from a recreational dispensary inside a casino, hotel room, or rental unit is illegal.
Remaining classified as an illegal Schedule 1 narcotic on the federal level, commercial casinos stay far away from anything related to the marijuana industry. Businesses and associates licensed in Nevada by the Gaming Control Board must refrain from any involvement in cannabis.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) recognized the consumption challenge for non-residents, and signed Assembly Bill 341 in June. The law gives the state’s Cannabis Compliance Board the authority to license and regulate consumption lounges.
Lounges, Las Vegas Style
Anyone who has been to Las Vegas in recent years is well aware that cannabis is widely consumed throughout Southern Nevada outside private residences. Law enforcement rarely cite individuals solely for violating the marijuana consumption statute. But area dispensaries believe legal, regulated lounges could be yet another draw for the region.
In a lot of people’s minds, a lounge is just four walls with some couches,” Tyler Klimas, executive director of the Cannabis Compliance Board, told the Las Vegas Sun. “I think we’re going to see some experiential ideas.”
Planet 13, the largest dispensary in the Las Vegas Valley, has long wowed visitors with its superstore that features interactive LED floors and walls, water features, 3D projections, and digital laser graffiti.
“We want to make something that people can travel to, something like a club concept,” explained David Farris, VP of sales and marketing for Planet 13. “We know the pressure is on us to build something special.”
While Las Vegas marijuana dispensaries around town are prepping their lounge plans, casino guests will likely need to hail an Uber to visit such an establishment. The cannabis consumption bill Sisolak signed mandates that such venues not be within 1,000 feet of a school, 300 feet of a community facility, or 1,500 feet of a business with a nonrestricted gaming license.
Gaming venues that seek to operate more than 15 slot machines and/or table games must acquire a nonrestricted gaming license from the state. The 1,500-foot mandate required under the Nevada cannabis consumption lounge law means the closest such a venue could be to a casino is nearly three-tenths of a mile.
But legal recreational marijuana and a place to legally consume it gives Nevada yet another amenity to cater to potential tourists and gamblers. Only six states other than Nevada have approved legislation that allows marijuana consumption lounges — Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, and New Jersey.
In Nevada, weed lounges will only permit patrons to consume product purchased at the on-site dispensary. Alcohol will be prohibited.
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