How is Las Vegas ahead of us? They just legalized recreational weed!
Looks like in some ways, Las Vegas is ahead of us even though they legalized recreational weed after us. HighGradeRoots / Getty Images

Las Vegas has always had a lot to offer, and now Sin City also has the welcome recent addition of access to legal recreational cannabis. But, just like Washington, there aren't many legal options for consumption of cannabis after it's been acquired. Homeowners may consume in their abode, but with Vegas hosting more than 40 million tourists per year, that leaves the majority of cannabis consumers with no place to consume—streets, cars, casinos, and hotel rooms are not legal spaces to light up or vape.

A bill in the Nevada legislature to allow establishment cannabis lounges was defeated, but that didn't slow the roll of those who wished to roll and puff puff pass. Per Leafly, an effort that has been under way for the past 18 months to convince the Las Vegas City Council to allow the smoking lounges last week gained approval.

Licenses for the consumption spaces will be issued only to those who hold a dispensary license. At present, there are a dozen dispensaries in Las Vegas, with an additional 10 expected to open before the end of 2019.

A number of rules will be put in place to appease the powerful gaming and alcohol industries, but they are reasonable ones:

• The lounges may not be based within a dispensary, but can be adjacent.
• No alcohol may be served, but nonalcoholic food and beverages may be offered.
• Windows must be blacked out, and lounges must be located indoors with no access to the outdoors.
• They cannot be located within 1,000 feet of an established property offering gaming.
• This applies only to the dispensaries located within City limits, with the exception of the dispensary run by the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe. Thanks to a deal with the state, they are exempt from federal regulations regarding cannabis commerce, including lounges.

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This is Vegas, so you can expect some luxurious offerings. Leafly reports that two lounges in development will have 7,800 and 8,000 square feet of space, and offer much more than a few couches and big screens blaring ESPNs 1 through 8. One will offer "over a dozen separate rooms with private areas for playing virtual reality games and dominoes, a recording studio, a CBD product store, and even a boardroom for groups that have expressed interest in holding meetings there."

Another will offer "a makeshift concert venue, massage parlor, yoga studio, and private event center." That may pale in comparison to what the Paiute Tribe has in store for an 11-acre parcel of land next to their dispensary, which they have stated will become a consumption lounge “when the time is right.”

For now, Washington State has no plans to address the lack of spaces for compliant consumption, choosing instead to allow the sale of cannabis and then penalize those with audacity to consume what they have just paid taxes to the state to acquire. Way to go, Olympia.

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