Weed aficionados started getting psyched earlier this week when Nevada’s Legislative Counsel Bureau released an opinion saying that the state has no law against private cannabis lounges where patrons would be free to smoke or otherwise imbibe cannabis products. There were no bills, no measures, no votes. The ruling simply said that current state law doesn’t say anything against operating a marijuana lounge.
But the high from the news didn’t last too long. Nevadans sobered up pretty quick when the very next day Governor Brian Sandoval both contradicted that finding and said he opposed it.
“I did not support them previously. I don’t support them now,” Sandoval told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “I think that this might invite more [federal] scrutiny with regard to the sale of recreational marijuana.”
Sandoval noted that the state’s recreational cannabis has a lot of issues to figure out before it starts expanding, like for instance what to do about that clusterfuck of a distribution system that created a weed shortage only weeks after legalization.
Going back and forth and getting nowhere on cannabis lounges will sound familiar to users in other states. Colorado has had legal recreational cannabis for four years, but is yet to license a single marijuana lounge.
Only one municipality in the state, Denver, has a system to allow businesses to apply for social-consumption permits. However, as Westword reports, not a single has handed in an application so far.
Just as in Nevada, one branch of government says weed lounges while another says they’re forboden. The original backers of the initiative to license lounges have now threatened to sue the city over changes made to the measure, including what they see as unreasonable zoning requirements.
Meanwhile, Alaska is conducting raids on its cannabis lounges. Neither California nor Massachusetts nor Maine are even formally considering cannabis lounge permits at the moment. Eight states will be fully legal next year, and most other states have a medical marijuana program, but not a single one has a way to permit social smoking areas.
“Allowing regulated social use areas is a good solution that recognizes cannabis consumers' rights to congregate just like alcohol drinkers can in bars while also protecting nonconsumers' rights not to inhale secondhand smoke,” Tom Angell, Marijuana Majority founder, told The Hill. “It should be a no-brainer, especially in tourist towns like Las Vegas where visitors don't have private residences they can go back to to imbibe.”
Photo via Flickr user Cannabis Culture