Nevada opens the door to 'cannabis consumption lounges'

The new establishments will feature THC-infused edibles for onsite consumption. Additional foods and beverages can also be sold.
Photograph: Shutterstock

Nevada has legalized a new sort of food and beverage establishment: The cannabis consumption lounge.

The facilities will be permitted under strict regulations to sell THC-laced foods and beverages for consumption onsite. Other refreshments can also be offered. The law is mum on whether the selection of non-THC-spiked beverages could include alcoholic drinks. Entertainment is permitted.

The places require a state license. The licensing fee for a free-standing lounge—one that’s not attached to a retail dispensary—is $10,000.

Places that are unaffiliated with a legal dispensary can negotiate an agreement to be supplied by one of the outlets. The items provided cannot look like lollipops or be marketed as candy. Nor can they bear the images of mascots or child-friendly characters for marketing purposes.

The facilities cannot be located near schools, and airport branches are expressly prohibited. The lounges will be limited to adult patrons.

The lounges solve a problem for Nevada’s burgeoning legal marijuana trade. Although the sale of THC products for recreational use is legal within the state, public consumption of the items is still a crime. The intention was to encourage consumption of marijuana at the user’s home, beyond public view.

But Nevada is highly dependent on tourists. Visitors who shopped at a dispensary had no place to consume their purchases. Even if they were staying at a hotel, the property likely discouraged in-room smoking of any sort.

The lounges are intended to provide a place for visitors to indulge.

The legislation signed into law last week by Gov. Steve Sisolak permits state regulators to grant up to 20 licenses for cannabis consumption laws during the coming year. After June 22, 2022, more permits can be issued, but not at a rate that drives the number of outlets above the count of dispensaries in the state.

The term “cannabis consumption lounges” was set by the legislation as the official term for the new facilities.

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