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Las Vegas Is on Track for an Early Start to Recreational Cannabis Sales

Forget 2018, Sin City’s medical pot shops will be able to start selling recreational weed as soon as July.

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Voters in Nevada legalized recreational cannabis last November with plans to start recreational sales at the beginning of 2018. But with a tourist market ready to explode and state officials trying to box out black market profiteers, Nevada is setting up a program that would allow established medical marijuana dispensaries to start selling weed to the general public as soon as this coming July.

According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, in Clark County, home of Las Vegas, a new proposal to delay those cannabis sales until September of this year was rebuked by the county’s 12-person Green Ribbon Panel.

Members of the panel argued that re-establishing a delay on recreational sales would give more time for the county’s black market to expand and unnecessarily cut into the state’s possible tax revenue. The panel decided on Friday to move forward with the July 1st recreational sales -  under a few specific stipulations.

Sadly, you won’t be able to spark up a joint at the blackjack table. Cannabis consumption or delivery will be prohibited at places with a gambling license, including bars, hotels and casinos on the famed Las Vegas strip. That recommendation was put forward by panel member and Nevada Gaming Commission chairman Tony Alamo, who expressed worries about the intersection of federal gambling and cannabis laws.

The panel also agreed that medical and recreational marijuana should be considered the same until the point of sale, unlike in states like Colorado and Oregon, where cannabis is separated at the cultivation level into one of the two categories. In Clark County, the only difference will be a higher tax rate for those purchasing their bud without a medical recommendation.

Of course, if state lawmaker Tick Segerblom’s Senate Bill 302 passes, the established dispensary-specific regulations would be unnecessary, with all recreational sales possible this summer and new indoor consumption regulations that would put more power in the hands of local municipalities.

But with the Green Ribbon Panel’s recommendations on Friday, it certainly appears that tourists making their way to Sin City this July will have more options than just booze to help them forget their slot machine losses.

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