Thursday, May 27, 2021 | 5:05 p.m.
CARSON CITY — Almost five years after recreational cannabis was legalized in Nevada, state lawmakers are working toward a potential fix to a problem long plaguing the industry: Where can people actually consume cannabis?
Assembly Bill 341, passed out of the Nevada Assembly Thursday on a 29-12 vote, would create the first legal spaces outside of private property to consume cannabis in Nevada.
The bill’s passage comes one month before a 2019 moratorium on local governments’ ability to license the lounges on their own is set to expire.
“If the state (doesn’t) take some action, I think we would potentially have a situation where different local governments are operating under different rules. The state would not have the ability to come in and regulate and not have the ability to collect the licensing fees and the application fees,” said Assemblyman Steve Yeager, D-Las Vegas, the bill’s sponsor.
This is the third consecutive legislative session that Democratic lawmakers have attempted to legalize consumption lounges. With the session wrapping at midnight on Memorial Day, lawmakers in the Senate will have to move quickly in the coming days.
Layke Martin, the executive director of the Nevada Dispensary Association, said the association is in support of the bill. The legislation could give tourists a place to consume cannabis while potentially giving an economic boon to dispensaries, she said.
“We have many members who are interested in exploring this new opportunity,” Martin said. “They’ll have the opportunity to apply for lounges that are attached or adjacent to dispensaries.”
The bill would call for lounges attached to existing dispensaries