Marijuana lounges are one of the most anticipated verticals and talked about topics in the cannabis industry. Las Vegas marijuana lounges seem like a logical addition to our cannabis industry especially considering the popularity of cannabis, best represented by the tax revenue it is generating each month. However, Las Vegas officials have been reluctant to move forward with a plan for cannabis social consumption spaces, but recent news suggests that may be changing.
Perhaps the Las Vegas lawmakers’ reluctance to implement a licensing plan for cannabis lounges stems from just how new the industry is with the one-year anniversary of recreational sales having just passed on July 1st. It may also have to do with the Nevada Gaming Commission’s concerns that Las Vegas already tests the tolerance of the federal government by allowing the commercial sale of cannabis, gambling and other restrictive industries. However, demand seems to have spurred legislators to pick up discussions about allowing marijuana lounges later this year instead of next year which officials had originally eluded to.
“It’s really cool to think that possibly one day we’ll have a consumption lounge next door, maybe right above us,” said Audrey Bolton, general manager of Cheba Hut located on Sahara and Rainbow.
Nevada left room in the law for marijuana lounges but first an ordinance needs to be established for specifications of a social consumption space. Last Wednesday a public workshop was held to discuss a draft ordinance for venues. Under the current proposed rules a venue will not be permitted to have any windows or an outdoor seating area. When people think about marijuana lounges they may think of Amsterdam cafes, but under these rules it is unlikely that a Las Vegas marijuana lounge would resemble the famed cafes.
“There absolutely needs to be a safe place for people to consume cannabis for our tourists and our locals too,” said cannabis consultant Jason Sturtsman. “They’ve added a security plan … a fire plan … there’s odor control as part of it as well.”
A marijuana social consumption space will have a whole new set of regulations relative to Las Vegas dispensaries. Like a restaurant, a marijuana lounge will have to take the proper precautions to protect consumers. Like a bar that serves alcohol, local Las Vegas dispensary prices will likely fluctuate as more demand and competition for wholesale contracts are born from the existence of these lounges.
Cannabis lab testing will also be imperative for Las Vegas marijuana lounges. Just like a cup of coffee cannot be served to a customer that is so hot that it burns their mouth, the cannabis served in a lounge must be safe for consumption as well. Any bacteria, fungus or other toxins could lead to a consumer becoming sick, which could then lead to a possible lawsuit. Despite the lack of federal regulation that would be found on any typical product, states should regulate cannabis just like it would be by a federal agency in anticipation of national legalization. The Las Vegas cannabis industry seems to be growing and approaching its full potential.