Will Las Vegas Become the American Amsterdam?
It’s Viva Las Vegas as this desert oasis prepares to allow cannabis lounges and public consumption.
No longer will tourists interested in smoking some buds have to worry about hiding behind closed doors. Last week, the Nevada Legislative Counsel Bureau gave the go-ahead for patrons aged 21 years and older to consume cannabis in public places throughout Las Vegas – as is the current rule for alcohol.
Las Vegas gets over 42 million visitors every year, and those who were interested in smoking a bit while on vacation were stuck in a bit of a catch 22. While cannabis is legal and they could visit certain dispensaries to purchase it, there was literally no where in town where consumption was allowed.
Hotels, even those that allow cigarette smoking, did not allow cannabis use, it was not permitted outside on the street, and there were no lounges or areas specifically designated for cannabis use – only on private property.
State Sen. Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, told NBC News that he sees this as an opportunity to turn Vegas into an “Amsterdam on steroids”.
“We’re inviting 40 million people to come here and buy marijuana, but then we turn around and say there’s no place to use it,” said Segerblom. “I think Vegas is perfect for this. That’s what we do. We regulate vices.”
There will be a few different options for those looking to provide adults with a place to consume cannabis in Las Vegas. First, they could open a stand-alone location that sells cannabis and allows on-site use. Or an existing business like a bar, bed and breakfast, or massage studio for example, could offer a place for visitors to use cannabis.
“We’re very pleased to see this,” said Justin Strekal, political director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). “The legislature is taking seriously the need for there to be social consumption regulations in place to give those who chose to responsibly consume cannabis the opportunity to do so in a manner similar to how we have bars for alcohol.”
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