Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak signed legislation last summer to legalize cannabis consumption lounges, and now, a year later, state officials have signed off on regulations to govern them.
The Cannabis Compliance Board approved the rules June 28, paving the way for bar-like establishments where people can consume cannabis, according to The Nevada Independent.
Board members held 15 public meetings to develop the regulations, the news outlet reported, and despite public comment suggesting sweeping changes to the rules that were initially proposed, the board approved the regulations Tuesday with only minor verbiage tweaks.
One change removed a paragraph on how to determine whether a cannabis consumption lounge is located an adequate distance from schools and casinos, The Nevada Independent reported, while another removed the word “continually” from a requirement that lounge staff monitor surveillance footage of the premises.
“I would not be in favor of pulling the regs for those changes, given the amount of time we’ve had,” Cannabis Compliance Board member Riana Durrett said, according to The Nevada Independent. “We're not going to be able to continue to keep putting these on agendas and then wait for more ideas and more ideas when I think so much work was put into these, and most requests were accommodated.”
Nevada’s cannabis laws bar consumers from using cannabis anywhere outside a private residence; the cannabis consumption lounges will provide another space for adults to consume.
The regulations require lounges to outline plans to limit workers’ exposure to secondhand smoke and to limit impaired driving, such as a partnership with a rideshare company or implementing a no-tow policy, The Nevada Independent reported.
The rules also require the businesses to ensure that cannabis consumption is not visible from outside the lounges, according to the news outlet, and higher potency products sold at the establishments must include a disclaimer that they are not intended for inexperienced consumers.
The cannabis consumption lounges cannot sell alcohol, tobacco or nicotine products under the regulations, according to The Nevada Independent.
Regulators will ultimately license 65 new establishments, the news outlet reported, with social equity preferences built into the licensing process.
Forty to 45 of the new licenses will be attached to Nevada’s existing cannabis dispensaries, while 20 will be awarded to independent lounges.
Ten of the licenses earmarked for independent lounges are reserved for social equity applicants, defined as people with non-violent cannabis convictions or those who have close relatives with such convictions. Social equity applicants, who will have reduced licensing fees, must also live in a census tract that is considered disadvantaged, according to The Nevada Independent.
State officials now plan to roll out tools and webinars to assist applicants, the news outlet reported, and regulators will issue a formal notice about the application process 30 days before the application period opens.