As part of rebranding effort, off-Strip boutique hotel wants to be ‘cannabis-inclusive’

February 21, 2023 · Las Vegas Sun

A Las Vegas off-Strip hotel plans to have an entire floor of cannabis-friendly rooms.

Under new ownership by Elevations Hotels & Resorts, the Artisan Hotel Boutique will be rebranded as The Lexi. Officials at the 64-room property near Interstate 15 and Sahara Avenue say the ongoing multimillion-dollar transformation into a more modern, cannabis-inclusive hotel will attract tourists and locals alike. It hopes to open the cannabis floor in the spring.

“(The Lexi is) going to be the coolest place to be in Vegas if you’re not looking for a gambling establishment,” said Alex Rizk, CEO of Elevations Hotels & Resorts.

Rizk said the hotel would not be cannabis-centric, but rather “cannabis inclusive” with the 16 rooms on the fourth floor reserved for consumption. Before the conversion can happen, the group needs approval from the city of Las Vegas — which Rizk says is a tricky process.

State law mostly limits marijuana use to private property such as a home, although consumption lounges have been approved and will soon open throughout the state.

While Elevations Hotels & Resorts doesn’t have a consumption lounge license, Rizk said having rooms designated for marijuana wouldn’t need them.

Officials with the Cannabis Compliance Board, which regulates the industry in Nevada, said they couldn’t comment on the group’s plans because nothing has formally been presented to the board. The city of Las Vegas also did not comment on the cannabis-friendly rooms.

The concept Elevations Hotels & Resorts is proposing would only work in hotels without gaming because the Nevada Gaming Control Board prohibits the consumption of marijuana — still an illegal drug under federal law — in properties with gambling options.

“Our choice is to allow them to smoke in those rooms without fining them,” Rizk said. “The smoking in the guest room is not a huge deal. Where it becomes a problem is when we have public consumption in a shared space.”

Rizk said the rooms designated for marijuana consumption were being equipped with filter devices so the smell of the product being smoked isn’t a nuisance to guests on other floors.

The company already has some experience in cannabis tourism through the Clarendon Hotel and Spa in Phoenix, which markets itself on its website as a cannabis-friendly hotel. The property has 16 cannabis-friendly rooms — much like what Rizk wants to bring to Las Vegas — and an exclusive consumption lounge for members of the company’s Elevations Nation rewards program.

He hopes to eventually have a similar consumption lounge — separate from the floor of rooms — in the lobby of the hotel in Las Vegas.

City officials said that employees in its business licensing department have met with developers at The Lexi and directed them to go through the standard application process if the hotel wants to establish a cannabis consumption lounge. That application process hasn’t started.

The city of Las Vegas passed an ordinance allowing cannabis consumption lounges in 2019. Under the ordinance, licensed cannabis businesses in the state were allowed to apply for special use permits to open consumption lounges where cannabis products could be sold and consumed on site.

Interested business owners — including those who did not receive licenses to operate cannabis dispensaries in Nevada — were able to apply for permits a year later.

More important, the ordinance allows business to incorporate cannabis in their existing models and even offer special events, like a painting session where artists could buy and use cannabis products in the event space. That exception could pave the way for the hotel to open its floor of marijuana rooms, said Alicia Ashcraft, a managing partner of the Armstrong Teasdale Lawyers, who represents businesses with marijuana regulatory issues.

“There are lots of things you can do within the state framework that go beyond just sitting in comfy chairs (in a lounge), and I think that’s what (The Lexi) is trying to capitalize on,” said Ashcraft, whose firm doesn’t represent the hotel.

Rizk is ready to debut the reimagined property this spring — with or without the cannabis-friendly rooms. He wants it to also be an option for locals and says the business model is to include discounts for residents.

The transformation will also bring a European pool experience with topless swimming and a Cajun-inspired steakhouse led by former “Hell’s Kitchen” contestant and executive chef Jordan Savell.

“We want to bring back the historical Vegas scene that the Artisan had, but we want to elevate it to new heights,” Rizk said. “We want it to be a little bit classier.” (Full Story)

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