What you need to know about Nevada’s social cannabis club debate


Thor Benson / Cannabis News Box Contributor

With a little luck, Nevada could be the first state to feature social cannabis clubs and lounges soon. That’s because the state’s Legislative Counsel Bureau said on Sept. 11 that state law does not prohibit it, and many in the state have been fighting for these kinds of establishments to be opened.

There was already a bill this year that would have created regulations for cannabis lounges and clubs, but it failed to receive enough support in the Legislature. Will Adler, director of the Sierra Cannabis Coalition in Nevada, said it’s going to take action from counties or cities for social clubs to happen.

“We got an opinion back from the Legislative Counsel, which is the state’s legislative opinion arm, that declared it is viable to have social clubs in Nevada, and it is legal, if a local government chooses to do it,” Adler told Cannabis News Box. “So that’s sort of the caveat. A local county or city has to regulate and organize these on their own. That’s where we’re at today.”

While many casino owners initially opposed legalization, fearing it could impact their businesses, Adler said some of those same people largely support social clubs and lounges opening.

“It would really put Nevada on the map as the place to go for marijuana tourism,” – William Adler, director of Sierra Cannabis Coalition

He said this is because casinos and hotels owned by casinos are federally regulated, so they don’t want customers using cannabis on their properties. The city of Las Vegas has already had problems with tourists smoking publicly, because they don’t know where else they can do it.

“Now that we have legalized, [casinos] are supportive of the social club idea, because that would give them a place to put people,” Adler said. “They can say, ‘Stay in our hotels and stay in our casinos—gamble on the floor—but don’t use it on site. Use it at the club.’”

Many believe allowing social cannabis clubs would increase tourism in cities like Reno and Las Vegas, as they’re already destinations many cannabis users enjoy, and they would be the first places to do open such clubs in the United States. Los Angeles is also poised to become a city filled with social use clubs.

“It would really put Nevada on the map as the place to go for marijuana tourism,” Adler said.

He thinks it’s going to be an uphill battle to get social clubs started, especially considering Las Vegas officials appear to be waiting until Denver allows such clubs before they will permit any to open, but things could change in coming months.

It sure seems more responsible to give tourists a place to consume cannabis instead of giving them no options at all.