Las Vegas Strip Finally Has an Answer for Its Cannabis Problem

June 21, 2023 · The Street

When Nevada legalized in January 2017, it created a problem. The state made it legal to possess cannabis, but it did not change the rules regarding where you could smoke it.

Currently, the law only allows people to smoke marijuana in a private residence. Hotel rooms don’t count as private residences and, since most Las Vegas/Las Vegas Strip hotel rooms have associated casinos, federal law would prohibit allowing consumption.

Basically, that created a situation where people could buy smokable marijuana at countless dispensaries located near (but not on) the Las Vegas Strip, but could not legally smoke it. That forced people into alleys, parking lots, and other sites along the Strip.

The reality is that the city’s police won’t arrest someone simply for violating the public consumption laws so people smoke wherever they can. Some are more subtle than others, but the Las Vegas Strip generally smells like marijuana and that’s not really the image Caesars Entertainment (CZR) – Get Free Report, MGM Resorts International (MGM) – Get Free Report, and other casino operators want.    

Essentially, Las Vegas has legal alcohol without legal bars. A new Nevada law allowing consumption lounges will change that and the first legal cannabis consumption lounges have been approved.

Las Vegas Cannabis Leader Opening Consumption Lounge

Planet 13 (PLNHF) operates the largest dispensary in Nevada and it’s a very impressive facility that offers a restaurant and coffee shop along with the dispensary. There’s nothing cannabis-oriented about the coffee shop or the restaurant, but both are world-class in a city where standards are already high (no pun intended).

The retailer has elevated the cannabis-buying experience and now it’s going to do the same thing when it opens its consumption lounge.

“Planet 13 and Thrive Cannabis Marketplace in Clark County and The Venue at SoL Cannabis in Washoe County all unanimously received conditional licenses for their consumption lounge plans. The licensees must receive approval through their local jurisdictions and undergo a final inspection before opening,” the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

Work was underway at Planet 13 in early May even though the company did not know when it would legally be allowed to open.

Planet 13 has not finalized its concept as company representatives shared with TheStreet during a May tour of the facility that the bar model was not fully applicable. Bars sell multiple drinks and make more money the longer someone stays. That may not be how things work in a cannabis consumption lounge.

The company’s General Counsel Leighton Koehler told the Cannabis Compliance Board that the company is considering several pathways, ranging from a “modest tasting lounge to a nightclub concept,” according to the paper.

“It’s a strict business, pencil out the math (decision) — we’re still looking at that and trying to decide how much it costs to implement,” Koehler said during the meeting.

No timetable has been given for any of the three lounges to open. Planet 13 expects the zoning review process to take several months, according to the Review-Journal.

No cannabis consumption lounge or dispensary can be located within 1,500 feet of a casino. Planet 13 sits about a mile off the Las Vegas Strip in a mostly industrial zone. (Full Story)

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