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Las Vegas City Council Approves Cannabis Consumption Lounges

Las Vegas’ strip will get more lights.

On Wednesday, members of the City Council voted against a motion which would have seen Las Vegas deny the permit for cannabis consumption lounges. Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Following the Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board’s June sign-off on the establishments, the votes were taken.

This board established procedures to assist lounge owners.

“In addition to outlining the licensing and operation of consumption lounges, regulations approved today lay the groundwork for greater inclusion within Nevada’s cannabis industry,” the board said in a June release. “All applicants must submit a diversity plan, summarizing actionable steps and goals for meaningful inclusion. Additionally, half of the independent consumption lounge licenses in the initial round must be awarded to social equity applicants.”

“Prior to an open licensing period, the [Cannabis Compliance Board] plans to roll out tools and resources including worksheets, video tutorials and live webinars in order to ensure interested parties have access to the same information and are able to successfully submit an application,” the release continued. “The CCB expects to open the first licensing round for consumption lounges in the Fall, allowing for the first consumption lounges to open as early as the end of the year.”

The final regulatory approval was almost a year ago after Nevada lawmakers approved funding to the Cannabis Compliance Board. This board is charged with monitoring the state’s consumption lounges.

Nevada’s cities may decide to prohibit the establishment of consumption lounges. The report states that the Review-Journal, by “not responding to a letter from the Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board earlier this month, the city automatically opted in to the licensing process, but still had an opportunity Wednesday to change course.”

Victoria Seaman, Councilwoman was the one who filed the motion for opt-out. However, it was defeated 5-1 by Monday’s vote.

Seaman said constituents had told her that “they would rather not have them in the residential areas and have them more in the tourist areas, so, I’m not going to be supporting this,” as quoted by the Review-Journal.

But others view the lounges as yet another boon for Las Vegas’ vibrant tourism industry. The lounges will provide sanctuary for thousands of tourists who visit the city every week. As local news station KSNV put it, the state’s “current law leaves many from out of town consuming the drug illegally, either on the streets or a hotel room,” but the cannabis lounges will change that.

The following is an extract from the Review-Journal, the lounges “will allow marijuana customers to smoke the drug legally for the first time outside of private homes since voters legalized recreational use in 2016.”

“I think it’s important for the city to consider the business opportunity that consumption lounges will bring, and also some relief of issues we’re currently hearing about a lot because we’re not offering a place for folks to actually consume when they buy,” Councilwoman Olivia Diaz told the Review-JournalFollowing Wednesday’s vote. “We have still some way to go and some more work to do.”

According to The Daily Mail, there will 20 cannabis lounge licenses in the state. One-half of them will go out to social justice applicants and individuals who have suffered disproportionately from the War on Drugs.

An earlier announcement by the Cannabis Compliance Board stated that applicants for potential cannabis consumption lounge owners was scheduled to open in October and close on October 22.