Nevada regulators have approved the state’s first conditional licenses for marijuana consumption lounges—bringing three operators one step closer to opening the cannabis social use spaces for adults.
The Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board (CCB) first announced in November that it had granted 40 prospective consumption lounge licenses for businesses that had submitted the requisite documentation. With Tuesday’s action, three of those entities have now moved on to the next phase, receiving authorization to continue building out the lounges, which could then open pending a final inspection and local approval.
The businesses that received the conditional licenses are Planet 13, The Venue at Sol Cannabis and Thrive Cannabis Marketplace.
CCB also moved at its Tuesday meeting to adopt revised regulations to “allow for greater flexibility in air ventilation requirements for cannabis consumption lounges further reducing barriers of entry for all potential licensees including social equity applicants.”
— Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board (@NevadaCCB) June 20, 2023
Of the 40 provisional licenses that were granted late last year, 20 were awarded to new independent businesses, with half of those going to social equity applicants. The other 20 were for existing cannabis retailers that planned to open up social use areas.
Regulators received about 100 applications for the new license type during a 10-day application window in October.
This latest development comes two years after then-Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) signed a bill from Assemblyman Steve Yeager (D) legalizing consumption lounges.
CCB approved regulations for marijuana lounges last summer. The law could also allow businesses that couple cannabis with yoga, serve infused food, offer THC-aided massage therapy or incorporate marijuana in other ways.
The former governor touted Nevada’s lounge law in a 4/20 op-ed for Marijuana Moment this year, writing: “The idea isn’t new, but no one is doing it like we are in Nevada.”
“While most of the consumption lounges in other states don’t offer food, beverages or other entertainment options,” he said, “Nevada’s lounges will be a one-stop entertainment shop to create jobs, grow the industry and boost our economy.”
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Under the board-approved rules, consumption must be hidden from public view. Smoking and vaping must take place in a separate room of the lounge or be prohibited entirely. Single-use or ready-to-consume cannabis products can’t be brought off-site. And businesses must provide water to every guest free of charge.
The lounges will also be cannabis-only. No alcohol, tobacco or nicotine products can be sold.
Other safety-related regulations require lounges to establish plans to limit cannabis-impaired driving and minimize workers’ exposure to secondhand smoke. Guns are prohibited, surveillance is required and procedures must be in place to reduce and respond to potentially violent or harassing behavior.
Single-use cannabis products are limited to no more than 3.5 grams of usable cannabis under the regulations, with “extracted inhalable cannabis products” (such as vaping or dabbing products) limited to 300 milligrams of THC. All single-use products with more than 1 gram of usable cannabis, and all extracted inhalables, must carry written potency warnings.
Individual servings of ready-to-consume edible products are capped at 10 milligrams THC, a fairly standard amount in states that have legalized cannabis for adult use.
Topicals, meanwhile, are limited to 400 milligrams of THC. Transdermal patches and all other cannabis products can have no more than 100 milligrams THC and must carry a written warning if they have more than 10 milligrams.
Meanwhile, the current governor of Nevada signed a large-scale marijuana reform bill last week that more than doubles the legal personal possession limit, consolidates licensing rules and broadens eligibility for participation in the market by people with prior felony convictions.
Gov. Joe Lombardo (R) also signed a bill this month that will create a new working group to study psychedelics and develop a plan to allow regulated access for therapeutic purposes.
Additionally, the legislature also recently approved a resolution urging Congress to federally legalize marijuana.
Photo courtesy of Martin Alonso.