The Nevada Resorts Association is a leading lobbying group for the state’s gaming industry. It’s asking Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman to delay approval for pot lounges in the city.
According to the Las Vegas Sun, a few have received copies of the letter. They are Las Vegas City Council, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo and Las Vegas City Manager Scott Adams
“Recreational marijuana has only been legal in Nevada since July 1, 2017, and it still relatively new in other states,” Valentine wrote. “Consequently, communities have little or no experience with the impacts of lounges on the communities or surrounding businesses,” Nevada Resort Association President Virginia Valentine said in the letter.
A case for marijuana lounges
Las Vegas officials are intentionally slow in the process of approving pot consumption lounges. This time-lapse is giving all stakeholders a chance to voice their opinion on the topic.
These lounges would permit anyone 21 years of age and older to consume marijuana on the premises. There has been a push for this since the activity was legalized in Nevada on July 1, 2017.
The law, created through a voter initiative, only permits consumption in private residences. Currently, tourists face the problem of having nowhere to smoke the product. Many take to their hotel rooms or the streets without regard to the law prohibiting it.
Las Vegas police have done little to punish the public consumption of marijuana. Only 41 citations for it were written in the first 10 months of legal pot. Denver wrote 762 citations in the first year of legal marijuana in Colorado.
The idea of legal pot lounges is floating as an idea to prevent this. Proponents say this would discourage public use by tourists that have no other way to partake in the activity. Nevada gaming regulators are clear that smoking in hotel areas and hotel rooms is not tolerated, so this proposal is a solution.
Marijuana lounges would be like taverns. Alcohol and food could be served and cigarette smoking permitted. Unlike most other Nevada bars, gaming would not be permitted in marijuana lounges.
Input from industry locals
Clark County created a Green Ribbon Advisory Panel in 2017. The goal of this was to receive input from local business leaders to best approach the fledgling industry. This would include casino operators.
Andy Abboud, senior vice president of Las Vegas Sands, is a member of the panel. He spoke in favor of the idea of pot lounges. Abboud said it would reduce the smuggling of marijuana into gaming properties. The Green Ribbon Advisory Panel pushed for the lounges last year, according to the Las Vegas Sun.
It looks like the Nevada marijuana industry is split on public consumption of marijuana. For this reason, the Nevada Dispensary Association is neutral on the proposal.
If approved, Las Vegas would become the first jurisdiction in Nevada to permit public use of marijuana. They are currently legal in California and Colorado.