Not to be left behind when it comes to legalizing any vice, Nevada is pushing to become the first state in the U.S. to okay social cannabis lounges. A senate bill was passed 12-9 Tuesday to allow cannabis clubs in Clark County (which includes Vegas) and the bill will next go onto the state Assembly, as reported by The Las Vegas Review Journal. The Clark County marijuana advisory board has already made recommendations on how cannabis lounges could function in the area.
The move comes just weeks after Colorado cancelled its own cannabis lounge initiative. The reasoning behind that state’s trepidation was “uncertainty in Washington,” according to Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. The governor told The Denver Post that “this is not the time to be… trying to carve off new turf and expand markets and make dramatic statements about marijuana.”
But Nevada apparently don’t give no fucks about uncertainty in Washington, particularly when they stand to make a whole lot of money off betting that the feds do nothing to stop their cannabis lounge plans.
Apparently, Nevada’s Governor Brian Sandoval has released a two-year budget which calls for approximately $70 million in marijuana sales tax money. That mark would be hard to hit without the spending power of tourists, and current marijuana laws don’t help out 420-minded tourists all that much.
According to the legalization law which passed January 1, adults 21 and over (even tourists) can possess up to an ounce of weed. Later this year, they’ll be able to legally buy that ounce of weed. But, under current laws, they won’t be able to smoke it. The law doesn’t allow for public consumption and casinos have been specifically warned about allowing ganja on their premises.
“Tourists don’t have a home in Nevada,” State Senator and bill sponsor Tick Segerblom (D-Las Vegas) said on the senate floor. “We’re trying to get $70 million in tax revenue from them,” he continued. “So let’s give them some place to use it.”
That’s where Senate Bill 236 comes in. It will allow marijuana lounges, located off the strip, to act as a “safe haven,” in the words of Andy Abboud, senior vice president Las Vegas Sands Corp. The gaming commission is said to be on board with the bill, as the lounges would give the tourists an alternative besides bringing weed into casinos and “dumping the responsibility onto the resort corridor.”