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Cannabis consumption lounges will be launching in Las Vegas

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Cannabis consumption lounges will be launching on the Las Vegas Strip to attract more customers from around the world.

A new bill has been signed by Nevada Governor, Steve Sisolak, to license and regulate cannabis consumption lounges in Las Vegas.

Up until recently, it has only been legal to smoke, vape or consume cannabis in any form in your private residence. By opening up the industry in this manner, both the sale and consumption of cannabis is about to boom!

Assembly Bill No. 341, sponsored by Assemblyman Steve Yeager, will allow tourists and locals alike to purchase and use cannabis in public by October 2021. But what will the long-term effects be?

All cannabis – No gambling

Rules for the new bill are still being written but it’s clear that these cannabis lounges will allow the sale and consumption of weed, THC-infused edibles, and single-serve THC-infused drinks.
Live entertainment will be allowed but hosting gambling of any sort and serving alcohol will not be on the cards.

“You can think of it as a bar, except obviously there will be no alcohol. It could be a joint, an edible, it could be an infused food or infused soda, whatever the concept might be,” said Yeager during a hearing with Nevada’s senate finance committee.

While these may be the basics of what is expected, Vegas is Vegas for a reason and the more outrageous, the better. Yeager shared that he foresees weed-friendly yoga studios, comedy clubs serving cannabis, and high-end restaurants that put the emphasis on ‘high’.

“When people come to Vegas for a bachelor party, a wedding, or just to see friends they haven’t seen in 15 months, they’re going to want to get together and consume cannabis and pretty soon there will be consumption lounges and they’re going to want to come to Cookies,” says Ben Kovler, the founder and CEO of Green Thumb Industries. “What better place than Las Vegas? It’s an city for experiences in the middle of the desert.”

Dispensaries will be able to apply for a consumption lounge license but there will only be 20 standalone lounges allowed at first. Social equity applicants are already lined up to receive 10 of the 20 licenses. The race is on to create the next best cannabis experience and the Vegas Strip is about to be hazier than ever before.

Amsterdam’s struggle with cannabis cafes

In the Netherlands, and particularly in Amsterdam, cannabis cafes are the most popular place to purchase a good cup of coffee and everything you need for a good smoke too.

Relaxed atmospheres where locals consume cannabis as part of their daily routines, these cafes are not meant to encourage overindulgence. In an effort to keep these cafes peaceful, Amsterdam’s Mayor, Femke Halsema, is looking to propose a ban on tourists visiting these cafes.

Tourists have caused havoc on the streets throughout the years as they embraced Amsterdam’s “anything goes” reputation. “They do a combination of smoking and pill-taking and binge-drinking. And then they are like an unguided missile that is completely uncontrollable. There was a kind of nasty tension in the streets,” said Bernadette de Wit, an Amsterdam resident.

While personal consumption of cannabis being legal is a massive tourist attraction, it was never meant to be a problem in the city. Locals have lamented that the ethos of what was meant to be achieved has been lost over the years.

“The whole idea behind the coffee shops was that you needed a place where smoking cannabis is tolerated. But that's a far cry from what it grew into, which is a massive industry and a tourist attraction. And also, the vast network of crime that's behind it now,” said Diederik Boomsma, a city councilman in Amsterdam.

Will Las Vegas face similar struggles in the future? Or will the market thrive amongst the casinos on the Strip? Only time will tell.

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