Las Vegas Council approves pot lounges

meeting
Councilman Bob Coffin testifies in favor of marijuana lounges during a Las Vegas City Council City meeting. (Photo: Las Vegas City Council City stream)
meeting
Councilman Bob Coffin testifies in favor of marijuana lounges during a Las Vegas City Council City meeting. (Photo: Las Vegas City Council City stream)

Tourists who are prohibited from consuming cannabis in their hotel rooms will soon have places to partake.  The City of Las Vegas approved marijuana consumption lounges Tuesday.

In a 4-1 vote, the council passed an ordinance to allow a special business license for “social use venues.” Only Councilman Stavros Anthony opposed the ordinance. Mayor Carolyn Goodman abstained from voting, citing that one of her children is involved with the marijuana industry.

During the first year, only city-licensed marijuana dispensaries will be allowed to operate the venues. The lounges would not be allowed to serve alcohol and would need to be at least 1,000 feet away from casinos and schools. The approval process will take three to four months, said city spokesman Jace Radke.

The ordinance, which was championed by Councilman Bob Coffin, is two years in the making, explained Bryan Scott, the senior assistant city attorney. He said the city invested hundreds of hours researching as well as meeting with people in the community in order to produce the current language and garner as much support as possible. The Nevada Resort Association opposed the measure, citing the drug’s illegal federal status. 

In March, the Nevada assembly introduced a bill to issue licenses to operate marijuana lounges but the bill died without ever getting out of committee.

“The state will catch up but we can’t wait for the state to act,” Coffin said. “ We have to move as leaders and we have to make some assumptions that there’s no great resistance of objection to these lounges.”

Michael Lyle
Michael Lyle (MJ to some) has been a journalist in Las Vegas for eight years.  He started his career at View Neighborhood News, the community edition of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. During his seven years with the R-J, he won several first place awards from the Nevada Press Association and was named its 2011 Journalist of Merit. He left the paper in 2017 and spent a year as a freelance journalist accumulating bylines anywhere from The Washington Post to Desert Companion. While he covers a range of topics from homelessness to the criminal justice system, he gravitates toward stories about race relations and LGBTQ issues. Born and mostly raised in Las Vegas, Lyle graduated from UNLV with a degree in Journalism and Media Studies. He is currently working on his master's in Communications through an online program at Syracuse University. In his spare time, Lyle cooks through Ina Garten recipes in hopes of one day becoming the successor to the Barefoot Contessa throne. When he isn’t cooking (or eating), he also enjoys reading, running and re-watching episodes of “Parks and Recreation.” He is also in the process of learning kickboxing.

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