- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Marijuana consumption lounges may be legally operating within Nevada in a matter of months following passage of a bipartisan supported bill now awaiting the signature of Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak.

Members of the Nevada state Senate voted 17-3 Monday to pass Assembly Bill 341, sending it to Mr. Sisolak to be signed on the heels of it recently clearing the lower house of the legislature as well.

Should the bill be signed into law by Mr. Sisolak, Nevada will allow for two kinds of licensed “cannabis consumption lounges” to operate, effectively providing tourists a safe and legal place to smoke.

Nevadans voted in November 2016 to legalize the recreational use of marijuana and to regulate and tax retail sales, and the state’s first commercial dispensaries subsequently opened in July 2017.

But while Nevada law permits adults to buy marijuana for recreational use, consuming it outside a private residence is still illegal, creating obstacles for dispensary customers from out of state.

The bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Steve Yeager, a Democrat and speaker pro tempore, creates new licensing categories for “retail cannabis consumption” and “independent cannabis consumption” lounges.

Dispensary owners would be able to open retail lounges in spaces adjacent to their stores, while others would be able to run independent businesses that sell “single-use” items to consume on-site.

“My hope would be we see something open up towards the fall of this year, but it’s not going to surprise me if more realistically we’re looking into early next year,” Mr. Yeager told Las Vegas’ KSNV.

Tourism is a top industry for Nevada, especially for Las Vegas, where about 42 million people visited in 2019 before the coronavirus pandemic, according to its Convention and Visitors Authority.

Las Vegas hotels do not let guests smoke, vape, eat or otherwise consume marijuana or marijuana products, however, making nearly 150,000 hotel rooms off-limits, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported.

The governor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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