One of the primary concerns since Nevada launched its fully legal marijuana market is tourists have nowhere to consume the herb once they purchase it from a retail dispensary. However a recent opinion by the state’s Legislative Counsel Bureau could bring to life the concept of cannabis lounges in 2018, according to a report from the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
On Monday, the Bureau said there is no state law forcing local governments to ban marijuana consumption in businesses. The decision, which state Senator Tick Segerblom believes will help Nevada become “the marijuana capital of the world,” could give way to a multitude of pot-friendly establishments, such as coffee shops and yoga studios, in a manner similar to what Denver has spent that past year trying to implement.
Although the concept of cannabis lounges will ultimately benefit the state’s tourism trade, which serves around 43 million visitors every year, it will also provide more opportunities for the local cannabis community.
“We’ll be surprised at how many locals find value in these lounges,” said Andrew Jolley, CEO of The+Source dispensaries and president of the Nevada Dispensary Association. “Think about how many bars we have or wine tasting facilities and events. It’s crazy to think that marijuana is somehow different than that. It’s really not.”
While the opinion affects the entire state, it will be up to the local governments to decide how to handle cannabis lounges.
As for now, officials have no idea what those policies will look like in popular areas like Las Vegas.
“I do feel it is very important for the people who are coming from out of town, the tourists, which are a big contributor to the industry’s business, I’m told, to have a place where they can legally and safely consume the product,” said Clark County commission Chairman Steve Sisolak.
The issue of public marijuana consumption was brought to the table in the last legislative session by state Senator Segerblom. But in the end, Governor Brian Sandoval was not sold on the idea – a roadblock that brought the issue to a screeching halt.
There is hope that the latest opinion by the Legislative Counsel Bureau will lead to cannabis lounges popping up all over the state next year.
“This is what we’ve been waiting for,” Segerblom said. “It’s fantastic.”