Vegas may finally be ready to light up – cannabis shows, lounges, and more
Cannabis is legal in Sin City but visitors still can’t light up a joint in their favorite casinos. Until cannabis is legal on the federal level, the law states gaming and consumption must remain separate.
Cannabis lounges, experiences, events, and even retail sales cannot happen on the strip—the culture still remains strictly on the outskirts. But impending lounges and a new bill that could legalize consumption events are promising aspects of future cannabis tourism in the area.
Some venues are being proactive about including compliant cannabis entertainment, preceding movement from regulators. Area 15 recently announced a two-month residency of cannabis-themed magic show Smokus Pocus at the slightly off-strip entertainment venue. The show marks another step toward the marriage of classic Vegas nightlife and the ever-developing cannabis culture in Nevada.
The first off-strip Las Vegas cannabis hotel announced their intentions to be the first boutique hotel in the county to openly allow cannabis. The Lexi has a tentative opening date in April, as reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Many have also been waiting on cannabis lounges to spring up in Las Vegas and Clark County.
The slow approval of cannabis lounges
Since Nevada voters legalized cannabis for adult-use in 2017, interested tourists and locals have intently watched for the state to approve, license, and regulate cannabis lounges. Governor Sisolak signed AB341 into law in June 2020, but setting licensing requirements meant that lounges wouldn’t open for at least two years.
In the meantime, NuWu Cannabis Marketplace has been running a cannabis tasting room since AB341 went into effect. The Paiute Tribe-owned dispensary and tasting rooms operate on sovereign land, which meant the tribe could maintain autonomy from the licensing waiting period.
At the end of 2022, the Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board announced lounge license winners; fifteen of the forty licensed lounges are in Las Vegas. The CCB approved rules and regulations in March 2023, and many lounges will open soon.
Tourists may also have consumption events to look forward to with a new bill working through the Nevada legislature.
Cannabis sales and consumption to be allowed at events
Recently introduced AB 253 would create three new types of licenses in Nevada for event organizers, vendors, and temporary events. With all three licenses in place, an event could feature compliant onsite cannabis consumption and sales.
The passage of this bill won’t only impact cannabis-focused events, it would open the door for non-industry specific events to include zoned cannabis sales and consumption.
“If A.B. 253 is passed, it will carve a pathway for compliant cannabis activations to take place adjacent to, or inside of, other large-scale festivals and events taking place in Las Vegas,” Jenn Tramaglino, Vegas-based cannabis events expert, explained to GreenState recently via email.
Consumption and sales at major industry events like MJBiz could generate more income for Nevada cannabis businesses. In addition, opening up non-cannabis tradeshows, events, and festivals would be a healthy step toward normalization. The recent legislative movement in Nevada could be promising for cannabis tourism, something many have been patiently waiting for since 2017.