Clark County Commissioners Mull Over Las Vegas Cannabis Lounges and 24/7 Dispensaries
After initial discussions, it looks like social smokers will have to wait for a place to publicly consume their cannabis, but all-hours pot shops could be coming to Sin City sooner than later.
Published on September 20, 2017

With Nevada’s recreational cannabis market still only months old, and a vast majority of the industry located in or around Las Vegas, the Clark County Commissioners office has had their work cut out for them. Through a hasty early retail sales start, distribution issues, product shortages and pressure from the gambling industry, Las Vegas regulators have certainly have their hands full. After a meeting earlier this week, the Commissioners are taking on a couple more issues to address the needs and preferences of Sin City smokers.

According to a couple of reports from the New York Times and Las Vegas’ local CBS affiliate, Clark County Commissioners discussed a wide range of topics at their meeting earlier this week, including a decision to wait until Denver has social use cannabis lounges up and running before licensing their own smoking clubs. They also discussed the process of bringing Sin City’s pot shops in line with the rest of the city’s all hours mentality, opening the door for 24/7 pot shops to start serving Vegas in the near future.

On the social use issue, Clark County regulators are adopting every prohibition-friendly democrat’s favorite avoidance tactic, claiming they would rather wait and see how cannabis lounges end up working out in Denver, Colorado before allowing similar clubs of their own.

"I don't know if we need to be first or not, I don't see any reason why we have to be the first, but we certainly have to be right," commissioner James Gibson said during Tuesday’s public meeting. "...We have to make sure that when we do our part, we're entirely consistent, we're thorough in the way we've done it (and) we don't make for ourselves a mess that it would take years to get out of."

With in-home use laws that largely prohibit tourists, parents and renters from legally consuming their recreational weed, social use advocates argue that such places are necessary to ensure equal access for all of the state’s prospective cannabis users. 

As far as future timing is concerned, Denver’s cannabis lounge plans are still in their earliest stages, with no city permits yet awarded, pushing Clark County’s “wait and see” approach into largely unknown territory. 

But while social smokers may be out of luck for the time being, the same County Commissioners meeting resulted in some better news for the Sin City smokers who keep odd hours. After all, with casinos, restaurants and parties going all night, why shouldn’t the area’s pot shops? 

To make their case for 24/7 dispensary sales, spokespeople from the Nevada Dispensary Association presented the issue as a matter of access, safety and business interest. 

"For certain locations that are in high-traffic areas or have people who are rotating off-shift or have tourists coming in at late night hours, they want to have that option," Association president Andrew Jolley, said "For some locations, it's it's very important; for other locations, it's not as important."

Additionally, Jolley made the case that 24-hour dispensaries would also have round-the-clock security, making them less likely to be targeted by opportunistic thieves. 

In a more industry-applauded move than the social use delay, Commissioners moved forward with the request for all-night pot shops, with all indications suggesting the group will address the ordinance at the county’s next zoning meeting.

Nevada did what no other state would when they skipped years of regulatory meetings and legislative bickering to open their recreational cannabis market earlier this summer, and while there have a fair share of issues and problems, the Silver State has also shown the rest of the country what is possible in a very short amount of time.

Zach Harris
Zach Harris is a writer based in Philadelphia whose work has appeared on Noisey, First We Feast, and Jenkem Magazine. You can find him on Twitter @10000youtubes complaining about NBA referees.
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