The Las Vegas City Council has given approval to a new law that would explicitly allow marijuana consumption lounges where the plant can legally be consumed.
The City Council on Wednesday approved the ordinance to allow “social use venues” for marijuana. They will be allowed in the downtown and urban core, and does not include casinos, places that serve alcohol or the Vegas Strip, reports the Associated Press.
“The move answers a conundrum faced by adult tourists who have been able since July 2017 to buy marijuana for recreational use, but not consume it in public, in casinos or in hotel rooms”, states the AP.
The new law adds Las Vegas to a growing list of U.S. cities allowing cannabis consumptions ites, including San Francisco and Denver.
City spokesman Jace Radke said it could take several months for the 20 or so licensed recreational marijuana sales dispensaries in Las Vegas to get permits to open hookah-style consumption lounges. Lawmakers in Clark County who regulate the Vegas Strip have considered allowing lounges but decided in February to await rules from the state.
Governor Steve Sisolak (D) is proposing the state Legislature create a Cannabis Compliance Board to oversee the industry. The governor’s spokeswoman, Helen Kalla, said Wednesday that consumption lounges would be an issue for the board to consider. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported the only City Council member to oppose the lounge idea was Stavros Anthony, a retired Las Vegas police captain. The measure received police department support after a proposal to allowed alcohol sales inside lounges was scrapped.
State gaming regulators opposed the measure because of concerns about federal drug laws. The Nevada Gaming Commission has instructed casino license holders not to allow marijuana use on their properties.
According to Radke, marijuana lounges would able to open as close as next-door to a marijuana retail outlet.