With Consumption Lounge Bill Passed, Las Vegas Poised to Lead on Cannatourism
In states like Nevada and New York, there's a real "if we build it the tourists will come" vibe.
Just as the summer travel season kicks off, at the tail end of pandemic isolation no less, states and countries that allow recreational marijuana use are vying to be the next hotbed for cannabis tourism.
For the most part, that means visit unique dispensaries in Los Angeles, take a harvest tour in California’s Emerald Triangle, or plan a rustic canna-experience in Mexico. What’s the next big thing on everyone’s weed agenda: on-site consumption lounges. Just look what it’s done for Canada and Amsterdam.
All eyes are on Nevada
In Nevada, Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) recently signed a bill allowing consumption lounges in the state — both retail operations that could add a lounge and independent lounges that sell licensed products — for adults 21 and older.
It’s an especially big win for Las Vegas, which aims to quickly get back to its pre-pandemic tourism numbers, a whopping 42.5 million visitors in 2019. It already has two of the largest dispensaries in the world, a cannabis museum in the wings, and at least one current consumption lounge owned by the Las Vegas Paiute tribe ( the Las Vegas Tasting Room could open because it’s on sovereign land).
Up until now, you could only legally consume cannabis in a private residence in Nevada (although it’s likely visitors have smoked, eaten, and consumed in their hotel or rental). Like everywhere around the country, the state is rolling in tax revenue from cannabis sales. Adding consumption lounges with a bit of that Las Vegas shimmer has a lot of potential.
“Consumption lounges will finally provide a lawful place for both tourists and locals to safely consume cannabis,” Assemblyman Steve Yeager (D), who sponsored the state legislation, told Marijuana Moment. “Lounges will help grow Nevada’s small business economy and create hundreds of jobs. In addition, consumption lounges will further solidify Las Vegas’ status as the entertainment capital of the world as well as the destination for cannabis tourism.”
New York could be next
But it’s not only Nevada. California, Illinois, Alaska, Michigan and Colorado all have approved and opened cafes and lounges where you can smoke a joint, nosh on a THC-infused salad, or sip CBD cocktails. With states like New York not just legalizing recreational weed, but including cannabis club licenses in its recently passed legislation, there’s a lot of opportunity to attract the traveling public itching for new experiences.
Blazing up on Broadway before a show? Pizza and pot tours? Just think of the possibilities.