Michelle Rindels, The Nevada Independent
Nevada lawmakers hope this session will be the one where they resolve a “vexing” problem that has lingered since 2017 — it’s legal to consume marijuana recreationally, but not in a public place.
AB341, presented Friday in the Assembly Judiciary Committee, would authorize the creation of cannabis consumption lounges. The businesses would function like bars for marijuana use, allowing people to legally consume outside of a private home.
“More than 40 million tourists visit Las Vegas every year,” said bill sponsor Assemblyman Steve Yeager (D-Las Vegas). “Many of those are interested in trying cannabis, but there’s nowhere they can legally do so. They can’t bring it into their hotel rooms. They can’t consume outside. As a result, many of them end up breaking the law.”
Lounges would be restricted to people 21 and over, and public consumption would still need to be out of sight of passersby. Customers might bring their own products in, or the venue can sell “ready-to-consume” products, although not in quantities that would make it a de facto retail cannabis dispensary.
Proponents have big dreams that the bill could unleash a new wave of tourism, as well as fine dining experiences featuring cannabis-infused food and drink. They described concert and comedy venues where cannabis was allowed, and one public commenter proposed a mind-body wellness center akin to a yoga studio where people could use cannabis as they work through trauma.
“We are confident that a diverse group of operators will have the creative vision to build lounges that are experiential and fun,” said Nicole Buffong, the western regional director of Minorities for Medical Marijuana.
Supporters see lounges as a key tool in diversifying an industry with ownership and board membership that skews heavily male and