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Recipe for Success: Nevada Consumption Lounges

By Youroldpaltina
Recipe for Success: Nevada Consumption Lounges
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Governor Sisolak signed Nevada’s Cannabis Consumption Lounge legislation, AB 341, into law on Friday, officially ensuring that social use lounges are coming to the Silver State. The broadly supported bill passed the Nevada Legislature on Memorial Day, just hours before Sine Die, which marks the end of the session. Championed by Assemblyman Steve Yeager (AD9), this legislation aims to solve Nevada’s long-standing problem of illegal public cannabis consumption. AB 341 is also a win for industry professionals and local advocates frustrated with the outcome of the 80th Legislative Session, like the members of Nevada’s Chamber of Cannabis.

Founded with the mission of strengthening cannabis commerce, improving justice, and positively impacting the community, the 501(c)(6) nonprofit has worked closely with Yeager and within the community as the lead advocates for the bill. AB 341 is a common-sense, well-written policy that took hundreds of hours of work and required support from a broad coalition of stakeholders to pass. There was no major recorded opposition to the bill.

“This bill was a true testament to how passionate and collaborative people can spark the change needed to start steering the cannabis industry to a more inclusive space,” said Tina Ulman, President of the Chamber of Cannabis. “Although the bill does not include all our original components, it is a compromise for all parties, which is what good policy should be. Without strong advocates voicing their concerns and solutions, we would be in jeopardy of another unfair and nontransparent licensing process. The people passionate about the plant and who are shaping the industry are not willing to let that happen.”

AB 341 is the first and only bill in the state to pass that allows for safe and well-regulated cannabis venues intended for social use. Previous efforts in 2019 stalled at the very end of the last legislative session with the passage of a two-year moratorium on cannabis lounges. Now with the industry’s regulatory body, the Cannabis Compliance Board, in place, the state is ready to support and regulate the development of new licenses.

“The 2021 legislative session was unlike any we’ve seen before,” said Scot Rutledge, lobbyist for the Chamber of Cannabis and a partner with Argentum Partners. “The dynamics of a remote session throughout most of the process provide both challenges and opportunities in crafting legislation for both legislators and the advocacy community. Without the leadership of Assemblyman Yeager, this bill would not have been possible,” he said. “Additionally, what we

originally thought would be one of the more contentious and controversial pieces of legislation this year turned out to be one of the most supported and inclusive bills I’ve worked on. We are grateful to Governor Sisolak for signing AB 341 into law today.”

AB 341 creates two new license types for cannabis consumption lounges — independent lounges and those that are attached or adjacent to a retail cannabis store. Because regulation of these new license types is a top priority for regulators and law enforcement, the first lounges will be awarded to existing retailers that apply for them.

A lottery will be used to award lounge licenses to qualified independent applicants. Independent lounges will be able to sell single-use servings of cannabis in conjunction with their choice of service or entertainment model. With one exception of course: alcohol sales will not be permitted at any cannabis consumption establishment.

Unlike previously passed cannabis legislation, AB 341 also seeks to address social equity and diversity concerns noted in the CCB’s 2020 demographic report. Of the approximately 40 licenses created by the law, 25 percent are allotted to social equity applicants who will also qualify for lower application and licensing fees.

This measure, which was workshopped with local and national industry advocates, including Minorities for Medical Marijuana, is aimed at giving opportunity back to communities negatively impacted by the failed drug policies of the past. Additionally, all license types are limited to just one lounge per license group which will help diversify ownership of cannabis establishment licenses, a priority of the CCB and the Chamber of Cannabis.

While AB 341 legalizes cannabis lounges, local jurisdictions will need to draft ordinances and the Cannabis Compliance Board will need to promulgate regulations, so it’s likely that the first lounges won’t open their doors until 2022. That shouldn’t stop aspiring licensees from starting their planning now though.

The Chamber provides opportunities to connect, share resources, and collaborate with like-minded leaders in the cannabis industry — both online and off. Grounded in a culture dedicated to community over individuals, humility before pride, teamwork, and positivity, the Chamber is here to help shine a light on the incredible potential of the Las Vegas cannabis industry. To attend a monthly meeting or learn more about becoming a member, visit thechamberofcannabis.org, or reach out to their team at chamberofcannabis@gmail.com.

Media Contact

Tina Ulman President

Email: chamberofcannabis@gmail.com Phone: (702) 493-1856

Website: www.thechamberofcannabis.org

Resources:

  • ○ https://scholars.law.unlv.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1011&context=nljforum – The Elephant in Nevada’s Hotel Rooms: Social Consumption of Recreational Marijuana, A Survey of Law, Issues
  • ○ https://ccb.nv.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/FINAL-012921-CCB-Demographi c-Study.pdf CCB Demographic Study
  • ○ https://ccb.nv.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/CCB-Cannabis-Consumption-Lounge-Study-FINAL.pdf CCB Consumption Lounge Study
  • ● 2021 Coverage:
  • ○ https://www.sierranevadaally.org/2021/06/01/cannabis-consumption-lounges-clos e-to-reality-in-nevada/
  • ○ https://lasvegassun.com/news/2019/may/01/las-vegas-approves-marijuana-consumption-lounges/
  • ● 2019 Coverage:
  • ○ https://mjbizdaily.com/nevada-governor-signs-bill-marijuana-board-banning-social -use-licensing-two-years/
  • ○ https://mjbizdaily.com/nevadas-delay-of-cannabis-social-use-venues-leaves-busi ness-owners-to-pivot-or-wait/

 

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