The Las Vegas City Council voted 4-1 in favor of allowing marijuana lounges in the city.
The vote will allow people to consume marijuana products on-site at so-called “social use venues.” Las Vegas is the first city in Nevada to allow the practice.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the bill sponsored by city councilman Bob Coffin cleared legislative hurdles because it received support from the Las Vegas Metro Police after a portion of it that allowed alcohol to be served in the marijuana lounges was eliminated.
Under the bill, only licensed marijuana dispensaries can obtain a license for a marijuana social use venue for the first year. The bill was opposed by gaming interests in the city who were afraid of federal laws that still prohibit the sale and use of marijuana.
Gaming officials were afraid that social use venues near casinos would draw federal scrutiny.
The Nevada Gaming Commission has instructed casino license holders to not allow the use of marijuana on their properties, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal article.
A buffer area between social use venues and areas such as schools and churches was also enacted by city officials.
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman abstained from the vote, citing she had a conflict of interest because her family has interests in the marijuana business.
Nevada legalized the recreational use of marijuana January 1, 2017, and the sale of recreational cannabis July 1, 2017. Nevada legalized medical marijuana in 2000.
What Planners Need to Know About Marijuana and Meetings
Meetings veteran Patti Shock, academic consultant for The International School of Hospitality and a longtime resident of Las Vegas, has advice for her colleagues who may be perplexed about how to navigate the brave new world of recreational marijuana legalization.
"Meeting planners need to educate themselves about cannabis if they are going to be meeting in a state where it is legal," Shock advised. "Planners may not be scheduling cannabis events within their meeting, but their attendees may try it on their own.
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"They should know that the antidote is sugar and sleep. It just needs to wear off," Shock continued. "Pot that is smoked gives an immediate high and lasts about an hour.
"Pot that is ingested takes about an hour to show any effect, depending on how much food is in the stomach," she added. "And, it lasts for about four hours."
That said, Shock believes the introduction of social use venues for marijuana consumption in Las Vegas is an idea whose time has come.
"Opening the cannabis lounges is a great idea, because tourists have had no legal place to smoke it," she said. "Locals have only been able to smoke it in their homes. And, the fact that no alcohol will be allowed in the lounges is a good idea.
"Let’s face it, if they can buy it, they will smoke it, legal or not," Shock added.
"Lounges will give tourists a safe place to imbibe, instead of popping into a dark alley off the Strip, which could be dangerous," she concluded.
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