The state of Nevada voted to legalize recreational cannabis in 2016, and since then, a great deal has been going on to ensure things are running as smoothly as possible. At the state level, legislation was postponed to allow cannabis lounges, but at a local level, Las Vegas has made the decision to allow them. Just this month the Las Vegas City Council voted to allow existing dispensaries to apply for permits to open consumption lounges that could offer food and live entertainment.
“The passing of the ordinance answers a huge question that everyone had, which is if all these people are coming to town, where do they consume?” said Armen Yemenidjian, CEO of Essence Cannabis Dispensaries. “This gives people more of a responsible way of using cannabis. It fills a void, and it’s what was needed.”
One of the biggest problems in the world of legal adult-use cannabis is a lack of places for people to consume their legally purchased bud. Currently, private residences are the only place where it is legal to consume marijuana – but that leaves tourists with nowhere to go. With Las Vegas already being a high-profile tourist destination, the need for allowing social consumption is more important than in your average city.
“It’s vitally important for the city of Las Vegas to have places outside of residences where people can consume,” said Morgan Fox, a National Cannabis Industry Association spokesman. “The way the laws are in Nevada, conceivably, someone living in public housing could get a ticket, even though recreational marijuana is legal.”
The city expects applications to come in quickly – and dispensaries will pay a $5,000 application fee, and an annual fee of the same amount to renew their license. While only applications from established dispensaries are being taken now, beginning next year businesses without a state license to sell cannabis would be allowed to apply for licenses for off-site lounges.
Lounges will not be able to sell cannabis; instead, visitors will be required to bring their own edibles, vapor or flower. This is why dispensaries are being given the opportunity to apply for licenses first – to provide a place to purchase, and an adjacent place to consume legally.
Currently, chances are the dispensaries in Las Vegas are gathering everything they need to provide a solid application for the addition of a cannabis lounge. This change will solve problems for a number of residents in Sin City. However, this will also resolve an issue for many tourists who don’t want to be fined – or worse, arrested – for trying to consume their legal weed.