At the end of last month, the Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board approved regulations for the licensing and operation of cannabis consumption lounges. The fight has been ongoing since legalization four years ago. Our local Chamber of Cannabis was the first to share the news. As a group, they’ve diligently worked alongside lawmakers while drafting legislation to bring cannabis lounges to Las Vegas.
“The decision by the CCB is a big step in cannabis commerce, tourism, and the expansion of ownership opportunities in Nevada to a much more diverse pool of applicants and winners. Twenty new licenses will be issued, ten of them will be going to social equity applicants and the other ten will need to prove to the CCB that their company and business model is diverse and inclusive. These wins mean one thing, the CCB is listening to the activists our asks.”-Tina Ulman, Chamber of Cannabis President
Here are some important points from the newly approved Las Vegas cannabis lounge laws:
- The same laws about consumption in dispensaries and vehicles remain
- Two types of lounges will be allowed: retail cannabis consumption lounges, attached to a dispensary, or independent cannabis consumption lounges, free-standing businesses that do not sell cannabis.
- Only some products considered “ready-to-consume” or “single-use” are allowed for consumption at lounges
- All applicants must submit a diversity plan, summarizing actionable steps and goals for meaningful inclusion. Additionally, half of the independent consumption lounge licenses in the initial round must be awarded to social equity applicants.
- No business can own more than one lounge license for multiple dispensary locations
SO, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR YOU?
As a consumer, this means some very specific things. With the news, lounges could be open in December of this year. It would more than likely be early next year we actually see them, however. With that being said, not every single dispensary will have a Las Vegas cannabis lounge attached. Companies with multiple locations may only have one. Others may opt-out of applying as well as lounges are an added insurance liability.
There is a cap of 20 licenses available. If all 20 licenses are distributed on or before June 30, 2022; however, the number of licenses available then changes to less than the cannabis dispensary license. As a result, we see a slow progression of lounges or a very rapid burst. Considering the cost of opening a lounge independently, this may be slower than some would hope. When these lounges do open, however, they can facilitate events. Alcohol will not be permitted inside but food may be served. Cannabis-oriented events are usually barred from most venues so that only is a win for the industry.
The largest caveat from lounges is the use of “ready-to-use” or “single-use” items. What will more than likely happen is that consumers will buy single items from a lounge such as a joint or a single-dose edible. You may also be able to buy a bowl from a bong or a dab, provided by staff usually. If the lounge is attached to a dispensary, you may be able to bring certain products into the lounge to consume; but, this doesn’t apply to all products. Bringing in outside products will not be permitted at the moment.
There is no word yet if all the licenses have been distributed but the state is ready to welcome lounges as soon as January 2023.