LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Las Vegas City Council voted 4 to 1 to approve marijuana consumption lounges. This is the first municipality in Nevada to do so.
It will allow the city to create a business license category and regulations for marijuana lounges within the city limits. The lounges would be a place where people could use marijuana products. Under the bill, for the first year, only established dispensaries could get a license for a marijuana lounge.
Dispensary owners showed up at the meeting to support the effort.
Mayor Carolyn Goodman abstained from the vote saying her family has some interests in the marijuana business.
Since recreational marijuana sales began two years ago, the debate over finding a place where tourists, who make up a significant portion of our cannabis industry, can legally smoke it has been a heated topic of discussion.
“Rather than rush through this proposal, we would like to see what the legislature decides as well as the recommendation of the governor’s advisory panel,” said Virginia Valentine, the president of the Nevada Resort Association.
“We can’t wait for the state to act, you know before they got in their fight up there; they were modeling that bill after ours,” said Bob Coffin, Las Vegas City Councilman.
Everything came to a head Wednesday when the council voted 4-1 in favor of allowing consumption lounges within the Las Vegas city limits. Councilman Stavros Anthony voted against the ordinance.
The 12 existing dispensaries within the city limits can apply for a lounge license over the next year before the process opens up to others interested in opening a lounge. However, no marijuana can be stored in the lounge, so it’s BYOM, meaning if you’re a patron, you must bring your own marijuana. Alcohol also will not be sold, and the lounges have to be located within 1,000 feet of schools and casinos.
“We have our plans ready; we’ve prepared for this, as have all the other dispensaries,” said John Mueller, the CEO of Acres Cannabis.
Acres Cannabis is located near Sahara Avenue and Industrial Road. The CEO expects to open a lounge within four months.
“The next step is going down to city council and going through the special use permit process,” Mueller said.
For Tina Ulman, a pot lounge can’t come soon enough. Ulman is with the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. She says the lounges will help solve the problem of where tourists can smoke marijuana.
“We have to have a safe place to consume, Ulman said. “Currently, it is a free-for-all on Las Vegas Blvd. and Fremont Street. People are smoking wherever they wish. It needs to be contained in a regulated environment.”
Councilman Coffin told 8 News NOW the city could be ready to start accepting applications for permits as soon as next week.