I-Team: Pot smoking could be approved in businesses

LAS VEGAS – A problem for pot smokers in Nevada could soon be solved.

According to an advisory group for lawmakers, cities and counties could legally approve pot lounges.

Once customers or patients make a marijuana purchase at a dispensary, they need to figure out where to smoke or ingest the marijuana.

This latest development means perhaps the dispensary could open a lounge next door.

A Clark County public service announcement explains the dilemma facing recreational marijuana use in Nevada. The only place it can be legally consumed is at a private home and that can present issues for tourists.

A letter from the Legislative Counsel Bureau or LCB to state Senator Tick Segerblom could help change that.

“This to me fits so perfectly with Nevada, what our reputation is, how we come here to have fun,” Segerblom said.

The letter states in part, “A business may establish and operate a lounge or other facility or special event at which patrons of the business are allowed to use marijuana.”

So, now businesses like dispensaries may apply to open pot lounges and events like Electric Daisy Carnival might apply to allow marijuana use.

Then it’s up to counties and cities for approval.

Governor Brian Sandoval has spoken out against pot lounges saying it could draw attention from the Department of Justice since marijuana is not legal federally.

“I do not agree with the LCB opinion and believe that statutory authority is necessary to establish local marijuana smoking shops.  I am concerned with these establishments popping up piecemeal throughout the state with differing rules and regulatory structure. I also question why legislation was proposed during the 2017 legislative session if legal authority already existed.

Since passage of the initiative, I have called for Nevada’s regulatory structure to be responsible, restricted, and respected. Our marijuana establishment licensing structure was built with the Cole Memo – the guidance provided by the Justice Department to state’s regarding regulation of marijuana – at the forefront in order to prevent diversion to minors, to control illegal drug activity and to ensure that marijuana does not cross state lines.

My concern with different localities creating different regulatory structures and being limited to their general business licensing authority is that we would jeopardize the strict regulatory structure that is required by the Cole Memo and could invite enforcement by the federal government.  The Department of Taxation has requested guidance from the Attorney General’s Office on this issue.”

While the LCB has no official power, it helps guide lawmakers and jurisdictions.

“It’s going to be one of the most and highly sought after licenses in the marijuana industry,” said Robert Casillas, Cannacopia. “We definitely want one.”

Casillas is a consultant for Cannacopia medical marijuana dispensary in the southwest valley. He says the letter holds a lot of weight and proposals are already in the works to get pot lounges open.

“It’s huge. It’s like a second green rush all over again. Because the industry has kind of been constrained and there’s been a lot of restrictions so this is really gonna liberate us, liberate our tourism and consumers. It’s gonna be huge for our industry,” Casillas said.

And this might be on the fast track. The Clark County Commission is looking at the issue next week.

To read more visit: http://www.lasvegasnow.com/news/i-team-pot-smoking-could-be-approved-in-businesses/810029391