When I think about how cannabis consumption lounges in Nevada have been modeled, I’m reminded of the old juke joints in the South where alcohol would be concealed in brown bags because the business owner couldn’t afford the large price tag of a liquor license.
In 2019, the Nevada cannabis consumption lounges were introduced as a cannabis business model that would allow the use of, but not allow the sale of in-house cannabis products. I am still trying to understand how that qualifies as a cannabis business and how a brown bag only model would be profitable for any business owner?
The brown bag only model was also marketed to our community as an opportunity for those disenfranchised by the failed war on drugs to enter the Nevada cannabis marketplace with their own cannabis related business: The opportunity to create your own space, with all the overhead of a bar, but without any product to sell to your customers.
As a Black woman who has consistently fought for people of color (POC) to have equity in the cannabis industry, I was completely dismayed and insulted. How thoughtless is it to think it would be enough to give crumbs to communities who have suffered the most, punished for the same “crime” that large corporations are now making money off of. Might I add that many of these cannabis corporations are from out of state with many being headquartered in Canada.
I have had far too many conversations with folks about how POC should open cannabis support businesses as a way to be included in the industry, and yet the window of opportunity has yet to be completely opened.
I don’t disagree with the support business idea, being an adjacent cannabis business owner myself. What I don’t comprehend or buy into is the