Although a recent opinion by the Nevada Legislative Counsel Bureau is expected to give way to the creation of cannabis lounges in 2018, Governor Brian Sandoval does not feel such a move would not be conducive to a peaceful relationship with the Justice Department.
On Tuesday, Sandoval, who recently fought against a bill calling for cannabis lounges, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that he is still adamantly opposed to the new concept, saying “I did not support them previously” and “I don’t support them now.”
“I think that this might invite more (federal) scrutiny with regard to the sale of recreational marijuana,” he said.
Earlier this week, the state’s Legislative Counsel Bureau said there are no laws on the books preventing local governments from allowing marijuana consumption in places of businesses.
The decision, which was supported by state Senator Tick Segerblom, could give way to a variety of cannabis-friendly establishments.
"You can be a lounge, you could be a concert. There are hotels that are talking about catering to marijuana, they could be Air BnBs, clubs, rock concerts, coffee shops. The imagination has no limitation," Segerblom told the Reno Gazette-Journal.
But Sandoval, who admits to not yet having read the Bureau’s opinion, believes it is more important to focus energy on solving problems with the state’s recreational marijuana market before moving forward with plans to put cannabis lounges on the map.
“I think it’s way too early to be doing something like that,” Sandoval said. “I think it’s important that we continue to see how the sale of recreational marijuana evolves.”
As of now, Nevada is still fighting with its alcohol wholesalers over exclusive rights to the distribution of recreational marijuana. The battle, which has been in and out of court since before the state launched its early sales program in July, is on the verge of going to the Supreme Court.
“We still have an outstanding issue with regard to distribution,” he said. “I think that’s something that needs to be resolved once and for all.”
Governor Sandoval has reportedly asked the Nevada attorney general to investigate the opinion to see if it holds any weight.