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Nevada Wants to Open Cannabis Lounges in 2022

Giving consumers the chance to enjoy weed outside of private residences.

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Nevada leads the way on many aspects of marijuana legalization. For example, they moved faster than any other state to start legal cannabis sales after voters approved legalization in 2016. The state has gone on to rack up vast amounts of marijuana sales.

Now, the Silver State wants to move forward with cannabis lounges, which have been one of the most sought-after but difficult business proposals to realize in the cannabis industry. This step gives consumers the chance to enjoy weed outside of their private residence, currently the only place a person can legally consume cannabis, no matter where they live.

There's been much chatter about cannabis lounges, but few states have moved forward with widespread approvals for "social use" venues. Nevada officials want to change that in their state in 2022.

RELATED: FBI Investigating Alleged Corruption in Nevada's Cannabis Licensing Process

Appealing to a broader customer base

Right now, if you buy cannabis flower or edibles in a dispensary, you have to go someplace private to enjoy it. Most hotels still ban the use of marijuana on their premises. Some home rentals might allow it, giving tourists a place to go. But in most cases, people face a choice of either bending the rules or bringing weed to a private residence.

And even a private home can be an issue if you rent. Landlords can ban the use of cannabis on their properties under state law, much in the way they can ban smokers or pet owners. 

The market is there for consumption lounges. Seeing this opportunity, a Cannabis Compliance Board (CCB) committee that governs the marijuana business in Nevada recently approved millions of dollars in funding to allow the CCB to expand their staff. The new employees will work in a section devoted to overseeing cannabis lounges.

The CCB plans to set rules for applying for lounge licenses by the end of 2021. The goal is to accept licenses and get them approved by the second half of 2022.

RELATED: With Consumption Lounge Bill Passed, Las Vegas Poised to Lead on Cannatourism

Nevada plans to use the millions from lounges to fund education.

One idea that has driven the success of cannabis legalization among state lawmakers is the chance to raise more money through taxes and fees on weed. Nevada officials expect cannabis lounges to excel in that regard.

CCB Executive Director Tyler Klimas said lounges would bring in about $9.2 million in new revenue for the state, according to the Nevada Independent. State officials plan to use that money for the Pupil-Centered Funding Plan that pays for programs in the state's K-12 schools.

States officials said they expect cannabis lounges to reach more consumers by offering the chance to consume cannabis products in bars, restaurants, and lounges opened specifically for cannabis users. The Nevada Independent reported that 59 adult-use dispensaries have already said they want to apply to open a cannabis lounge.

New Jersey, New York, Illinois, California, and Colorado have laws allowing cannabis lounges but have been slow to open them. Some face opposition, including in some cases from law enforcement. Concerns include the possibility of impaired drivers leaving lounges and not enough restrictions on where businesses locate lounges.

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