It is the next logical step for the city of Las Vegas. Nevada has done nearly everything to make its largest cash cow fully capitalize on the newly legal marijuana industry. Las Vegas marijuana became available for purchase on July 1st, 2017 to any adult over the age of 21 and now Las Vegas dispensaries are as common as fast food and convenience stores. Las Vegas marijuana lab testing facilities are established and distribution challenges have all been fixed, so the cannabis is flowing to the over 40 million tourists that come to visit each year. The only thing that could really help boost what are already nationwide record setting sales numbers are marijuana consumption lounges.
People poured into Las Vegas this summer. That is right, this summer when Las Vegas temperatures regularly soared over 100 degrees, tourists from around the world came to Las Vegas during what might be called its off-season. The last four months of the fiscal year, which ended in June, many Las Vegas marijuana dispensaries saw their best months so far and Las Vegas generated the most tax revenue from marijuana sales so far. Tourists are becoming more comfortable associating their trips to the strip with marijuana consumption as time progresses even though there really is no legal place for them to consume it, which means that they are smoking marijuana somewhere. People like Susan Brager, the Clark County commissioner, does not want Las Vegas smelling like marijuana all of the time though.
“I think the consumption lounges, as we’ll call them in the county have value,” said Brager. “We have 43.44 million visitors that come in a year. We don’t want the Strip to just smell like you know everybody is smoking up and down it.”
While Las Vegas officials have not been clear on when they will vote on marijuana consumption lounges, it does seem the city is planning a vote soon. There are some real drawbacks to the current plan though. As of now, marijuana consumption lounges will not be able to sell weed. They will be allowed to sell alcohol up to 11% by volume and food to their guests, but not marijuana in any form. The Las Vegas marijuana consumption lounges will have to be located 1,000 feet away from schools and pay a $5,000 fee to the city each year. Frank Hawkins, the owner of the Nevada Wellness Center, a Las Vegas dispensary, has already purchased an 8,000 square foot space for the marijuana lounge he plans on opening.
“I say start slow even if they did some test programs for six months or so. I’m against folks bringing in marijuana from off the street because there is no way to control that. Ultimately, the city the state and proprietor is going to get a bad name,” said Hawkins.
The city of Las Vegas may not realize how popular marijuana consumption lounges could be in a city that never sleeps. Marijuana enthusiasts fantasize about the legendary Amsterdam cafes, though they may never have set foot in one. To bring that environment to Las Vegas may be a dream come true to cannabis consumers. With marijuana lab testing, they may even see a quality of marijuana they could not find in the Netherlands. Marijuana consumption lounges also solve the public consumption challenges as well. Why not allow marijuana consumption lounges to also sell marijuana? Otherwise, how would a marijuana lounge owner know that their patrons were bringing legally purchased marijuana?