Las Vegas Sun

September 29, 2023

Nevada cannabis board green-lights consumption lounges


Jeff Chiu / AP

In this file photo, customers smoke marijuana while sitting in a booth in the smoking lounge at Barbary Coast Dispensary in San Francisco.

Nevada’s Cannabis Compliance Board on Tuesday voted to approve regulations paving the way for cannabis consumption lounges in the state, according to a release from the board.

The first state-sanctioned cannabis consumption lounges could potentially open before the end of the year, according to the regulatory board.

Though recreational cannabis use is legal, Nevada law has, so far, only allowed for consumption at private residences.

The sole exception has been the lounge on tribal land operated by the Paiute Tribe just north of downtown Las Vegas.

Still, it’s common for tourists and others to openly smoke marijuana throughout Las Vegas’s resort corridor, especially inside parking garages.

The long-awaited vote by the board — born out of legislation that passed in Nevada in 2019 — means would-be licensees could apply for approval for lounges later this year.

The board, according to a news release, plans to award the first licenses this fall.

Tuesday’s action comes after 15 public workshops and meetings on the subject, hosted by the board and its sister organization, the Cannabis Advisory Committee.

In advance of a pending “open licensing period,” the board plans to supply tools and resources to ensure interested parties have access to information needed for approval.

A must submit a “diversity plan” to summarize “actionable steps and goals for meaningful inclusion,” according to the framework for the regulations.

Half of independent consumption lounge licenses in the first round will be awarded to “social equity” applicants, according to the release.

In early July, nearly a year ago, the board sent letters to Nevada cannabis retail store license holders to inform them of their eligibility to apply for a consumption lounge license.

It was expected then that the board might award licenses in time for some lounges to open before the end of 2021, though the process ended up taking much longer.

Some dispensary operators in Las Vegas long ago started with plans to build consumption lounge spaces.

According to a 40-plus page document on the board’s website outlining the different stipulations, consumption lounge patrons may not take with them unused cannabis products when they leave the lounge.

Use will be limited to single servings of 3.5 grams of “usable cannabis.”

The regulations also state that any cannabis smoking rooms must be stationed in designated areas inside a lounge. Outdoor lounges will be an option.