Since legalizing cannabis, Nevada has been mulling over the idea of cannabis lounges – a necessity in a state with as much tourism as they get. Unfortunately, Governor Steve Sisolak decided earlier this year that they should hold off on legislation to allow such businesses until 2021. Regardless, the state is now home to one of the first cannabis lounges, as the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe decided to jump into this space and open the lounge on their own sovereign land.
“We decided to move the industry along and be pioneers,” says Benny Tso, a former chairman of the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe and current tribal council member told the Las Vegas Sun.
The NuWu Cannabis Marketplace is both owned and operated by the tribe – and since it’s on land that is self-regulated and not governed by existing state laws and taxes, they added a tasting room. The nearly 16,000 square foot dispensary now offers their patrons the option to try their products before buying them.
The tasting room is full of couches and big screen TVs. There are waiters and bartenders on sight, lighting dab rigs and providing pre-rolled joints or flower and even serving up THC-infused beer patrons of the establishment. People are monitored as they consume their cannabis, and if need be, they are cut off or taxis or ride share services are called so they don’t drive home, just like any bar that serves alcohol.
“Within a year and half this is going to compete with our other businesses,” Tso said of NuWu Cannabis Marketplace. “I think we’ve prolonged our tribe by three to four more generations.”
Las Vegas is already home to the biggest dispensary in the U.S., Planet 13, which offers 112,000 square feet of marijuana and entertainment for locals and visitors alike. However, the NuWu Cannabis Marketplace is fair competition, offering a drive-thru option as well as the tasting room that not only provides a chance to try products before buying them, but also gives tourists at least one place they can consume cannabis legally.
The need for cannabis cafes, lounges or similar spaces has been clear since Colorado and Washington first legalized cannabis in 2012. This is something that isn’t going away and hasn’t changed much in the last few years – but perhaps the slow roll-out of social consumption spaces like the NuWu Cannabis Marketplace tasting room will help legislators see that this can be done safely and responsibly, and it really is something that should happen hand-in-hand with legalization.