This week, Las Vegas became the first city in Nevada to allow cannabis lounges.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that on Wednesday, Las Vegas City Council officials voted 4-1 to pass the bill, which has been sought by cannabis activists since the legalization of cannabis in Nevada in 2016.
While a state bill to legalize such lounges was unsuccessful, a 2017 opinion from the Legislative Counsel Bureau stated that social use lounges could be licensed as long as patrons were at least 21 years old, and the marijuana use was not visible to the public. Lounges cannot store or sell marijuana (would-be patrons need to bring their own) but lounges can sell and/or distribute paraphernalia.
Councilman Bob Coffin, who sponsored the bill, put it this way: "The state will catch up. We can’t wait for the state to act."
So what will the first wave of social lounges look like? Prospective business owners will need to apply for a special permit which costs $5000 a year. For the first year of legal lounges, however, only dispensaries licensed by the city will be allowed to operate them. Lounges will need to be 1,000 feet from schools or casinos and 300 feet from protected institutions such as churches, and will need to meet certain standards of odor control, fire safety, air quality and more.
Las Vegas will join cities in California and Colorado, as well as the state of Alaska, as the only places in the US to allow social cannabis use lounges.