Nevada Cannabis Regulators Hope Consumption Lounges Will Reduce Strip Odor
The Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board (NCCB) this week approved its parameters that will regulate forthcoming consumption lounges. One goal of such marijuana businesses is to rid the public, including the Las Vegas Strip, of incessant weed odor.
The NCCB on Tuesday ratified the process for licensing, opening, and regulating public cannabis consumption lounges statewide. The venues will provide nonresidents with a legal setting to consume recreational marijuana products purchased from a state-licensed cannabis dispensary.
Nevada legalized adult-use recreational marijuana through a 2016 ballot referendum. But since recreational sales began in 2017, nonresidents have not had a legally permitted place to consume the flower and vapes they purchased lawfully.
Nevada’s cannabis laws outlaw consumption anywhere other than inside a private residence. That means marijuana use inside casinos and hotel rooms is legally prohibited, though rarely enforced.
Guests who have visited Las Vegas in recent years are well aware that marijuana use is widespread. Walking the Strip today now comes with the familiar sights and sounds of ringing slot machines and street performers, but also a strong stench of marijuana.
State Hopes Lounges Mitigates Smell
Marijuana flower and other cannabis products are often accompanied by a strong odor when consumed, though other products such as vapes can lessen the stink. State cannabis officials believe legalizing consumption lounges will help eliminate some of the marijuana odors now commonplace in public.
Providing a legal place for individuals and visitors to consume cannabis hopefully helps both tourists who do participate in cannabis and those tourists who don’t participate in cannabis by bringing some of that consumption off the streets and into these licensed and regulated consumption lounges,” said NCCB Executive Director Tyler Klimas.
Consumption lounges will bridge the policy gap of allowing nonresidents to legally purchase marijuana, but then not offering them anywhere to lawfully consume it.
Nevada casinos must stay far away from marijuana and the cannabis industry, as state gaming laws require that licensed gaming operators adhere to all federal laws. With marijuana remaining a Schedule 1 narcotic on the federal law, a casino dipping its toes into cannabis would annul its suitability and result in a license revocation by the Nevada Gaming Control Board.
The NCCB detailed numerous rules that its licensed consumption lounges will need to adhere to. They include providing free water for patrons and requiring that a lounge’s parking area be tow-free to encourage guests who overconsumed to hail a ride-share service.
Consumption lounges are barred from serving alcohol and tobacco products. Guests must also not drink alcohol or smoke tobacco. Lounges must also take steps to limit the exposure of secondhand marijuana smoke/vapor to workers.
Lounges can sell food and nonalcoholic beverages and offer additional services such as yoga and THC-aided massages and therapy.
The NCCB hopes to issue consumption lounges to approved applicants before the end of the year. Half of the 20 independent consumption lounge recipients not tethered to a licensed dispensary, the board says, will go to social equity applicants.
The first round of NCCB permits will additionally include up to 50 licenses for dispensaries to build out on-site consumption facilities.
Standalone cannabis consumption lounge licenses will cost $10,000. Lounges attached to dispensaries will cost much more at $100,000 each.
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