Cannabis consumption lounges are approved in Las Vegas

Cannabis consumption lounges are approved in Las Vegas

It's official: you can now enjoy cannabis in Las Vegas! The City Council has approved the use of consumption lounges, which means that tourists and locals alike can partake in some legal weed without having to worry about breaking the law. This is a big win for proponents of legalization, and we're sure that it won't be long before other cities follow suit.

Council voted 5-1 in favor of the proposal.

The city council of Las Vegas recently voted to allow the opening of cannabis consumption lounges in the area, a move that has been praised by many. This comes after the Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board gave its final sign-off on the establishments in June.

The board released procedures for lounge owners in June, saying that the regulations “lay the groundwork for greater inclusion within Nevada’s cannabis industry.”

“To be considered for a diversity plan, all applicants must submit a summary of their actionable steps and goals for inclusion. In the initial round, half of the licenses for independent consumption lounges will be awarded to social equity applicants only.”

Before an open licensing period, the Cannabis Compliance Board plans to release helpful resources like fill-in worksheets, video tutorials, and live webinars. This way, everyone who's interested will have access to the information they need in order to submit a successful application when the time comes. The first round of applications for consumption lounges is expected to open in Fall 2020; if all goes well, we could see the first lounge as early as December 2020!

The final regulatory approval for the Cannabis Compliance Board came nearly a year after it was approved by Nevada state lawmakers. The board oversees the consumption lounges in the state.

If a city in Nevada does not want lounges for consuming cannabis, they can opt-out. According to the Review-Journal, if a city did not respond to the letter from the Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board earlier this month, then that city opted into the licensing process; however, as of Wednesday, the city still had an opportunity to change its position.

On Monday, Councilwoman Victoria Seaman's motion to opt-out was voted down 5-1. According to the Review-Journal, Seaman said constituents had told her that “they would rather not have [vacation rentals] in the residential areas and have them more in the tourist areas, so, I’m not going to be supporting this.”

However, others see the lounges as a benefit for Las Vegas' booming tourism industry. The city attracts thousands of visitors each week, and they will have a place to escape the heat and crowds.

The state's current law makes it so that many visitors consume cannabis illegally, either on the streets or in a hotel room. However, cannabis lounges will hopefully change that.

The Review-Journal reports that the lounges will allow marijuana customers to smoke the drug legally for the first time outside of private homes since voters legalized recreational use in 2016.

"Business opportunities and managing current issues are important to the city, which is why we need places for people to consume what they purchase," Councilwoman Olivia Diaz told the Review-Journal after Wednesday's vote. "There's still more work to be done."

According to the newspaper, 20 licenses for cannabis consumption lounges will be given out throughout the state, half of which social equity applicants-- people coming from communities that were adversely impacted by the War on Drugs-- will receive.

The Cannabis Compliance Board recently announced that the application process to become a cannabis consumption lounge owner will open on October 14 and close on October 22.

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