Las Vegas is once again on the cusp of having cannabis lounges. Assembly Bill 341 passed the Las Vegas Senate just before the legislative session ended.
The bill, introduced by Assemblyman Steve Yeager, provides licensing and regulation on cannabis consumption lounges in Las Vegas. AB341 addresses a long-standing conflict of recreational cannabis being legal for purchase but not for open consumption. Other recreationally legal states have avoided the grey area this puts consumers in. With Nevada, Las Vegas specifically having over 30-40 million visitors a year however, it’s a very real and very noticeable problem. If Sisolak passes the bill it would alleviate the pressure from both dispensaries and consumers.
PROGRESS BUT NOT PERFECTION
The Las Vegas cannabis community has been pushing for this legislation since recreational cannabis was approved. After a thwarted attempt and regime change, it seems now is the best time. At the moment, the only cannabis consumption lounge in Las Vegas is at Nuwu Cannabis Marketplace. They have happily and effectively served the city but the shutdown due to the pandemic shuttered the Tasting Room’s doors.
The bill only allows for 20 existing cannabis businesses to build a lounge attached to their existing retail space. There are options for independent cannabis consumption lounges. However, the number of independent licenses can never outnumber the ones for adult-use cannabis establishment licenses for retail cannabis consumption. It also notes that:
“…at least 10 of the first 20 adult-use cannabis establishment licenses for independent cannabis consumption lounges are required to go to social equity applicants.”Assembly Bill 341
Legislation for cannabis lounges may not be perfect; but, this is a major step forward as the city recovers from the previous year. Going forward, however, depends heavily on the past and present opposers of cannabis
The Nevada Assembly approved the bill last week 29-12. Those opposing the bill were mostly republican. This does pose some concern going into 2022 with Sisolak’s political opponents so far. Sisolak has always been a fair-weather friend of cannabis; but, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo’s relationship with pot is even stickier. As the assembly passed AB 341, Lombardo announced his plans to run for Governor instead of going for reelection as Sheriff. The news could mean a lot of things for cannabis lounges in Las Vegas as well as the state as a whole. In the case of cannabis, Sisolak has 10 days to make a decision.