Las Vegas Is One Step Closer to Getting Weed Consumption Lounges
The first could open by the end of 2022.
For a city that already has weed weddings, the largest dispensary in the galaxy, and plans for a cannabis museum, the only thing missing in Las Vegas is a place to legally and comfortably smoke, eat or sip weed in public. That's finally about to change.
Nevada's Cannabis Compliance Board this week approved regulations for cannabis consumption lounges to open in the state, with the first possibly debuting before the end of the year. In 2021, Gov. Steve Sisolak 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.
That means one thing: Las Vegas cannabis entrepreneurs are chomping at the bit to outdo each other with every kind of consumption lounge under the sun. Cirque du Soleil, Elvis, lights, color, sex — the potential themes are endless.
In case you missed it: Weed is legal in Nevada
Nevada became an adult-use state in 2017, meaning the purchase, possession, and consumption of recreational marijuana for adults became legal. But up until now, the only place you can legally smoke weed is in a private residence. Of course one whiff anywhere along the resort corridor of Las Vegas, and it's clear people are smoking just about everywhere.
With Las Vegas being Las Vegas, there are plenty of dispensaries, including the superstore mega weed store known as Planet 13, from which to legally purchase cannabis products. There is one legal lounge operated by the Paiute Tribe just north of downtown Las Vegas; it's on their own land and thus not regulated by the state government.
These new approved regulations open the floodgates for Nevada. Those wishing to open a consumption lounge in the state can begin to apply for licenses in the fall. At least half in the first round will go to social equity applicants. The expectation is that already operating dispensaries will be some of the first to open consumption lounges; many already have building plans in the works awaiting for this ruling.
According to the Las Vegas Sun, some stipulations in the 40-page document include use limited to 3.5 gram single servings; patrons can't take unused cannabis products with them when they leave the lounge; and smoking rooms must be in designated areas inside the lounge, with the option to offer outdoor areas.
Governor Sisolak tweeted his support, saying, "In Nevada, we've prioritized innovative policies to expand the cannabis industry while protecting Nevadans AND diversifying our economy."
Cannabis consumption lounges on the rise
Consumption lounges are clearly the next step in the ever-growing legal cannabis market. They're already approved in other states like Alaska, California, Michigan, New Jersey, Illinois and New York. Some see lounges as the weed wave of the future, especially for cannabis tourism.
"Done the right way, consumption lounges can not only be beneficial to the public, but also to government coffers at all levels, adding jobs and additional tax revenue," one Planet 13 rep said.