Nevada Regulators Approve Cannabis Consumption Lounges
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Cannabis regulators in Nevada have agreed that cannabis consumption lounges can open in the state.
In a press release on June 28, the Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board (NCCB) announced that it had voted unanimously to approve the licensing and operation of such lounges.
The first lounges are expected to open later in the year.
Cannabis and comfort
According to the NCCB, the decision to green-light consumption lounges followed 15 public meetings and workshops between the board and the state’s Cannabis Advisory Commission (CAC), which researched the impact lounges could have on public health, safety, and equity.
And the new regulations do include several social equity policies. For instance, all applicants must submit a diversity plan and summarize their goals for “meaningful inclusion.” Half of the lounge licenses in the initial round of licensing will also be awarded to social equity applicants.
Yet critics of the policy say barriers still exist for such applicants. Aside from application fees ranging than can reach $100,000, applicants must demonstrate that they have at least $200,000 in liquid assets to be eligible for a social equity position, for example.
“I don’t necessarily believe that this provides real ownership opportunities for those persons. The financial obstacles that have been put in place continue,” A’Esha Goins, executive director of the Cannabis Equity and Inclusion Community, recently told the Nevada Independent.
“It would seem that the Cannabis Compliance Board is very intentional about inclusion, yet the licensing and policy continues to block out a large amount of people.”
Cannabis consumption lounges are rare finds, even in US states that have legal access to recreational marijuana. Illinois and California each have a handful, but many other states, including Colorado, are only just moving forward with licensing.
Proponents of the lounges say they encourage tourism and help destigmatize cannabis use.
“The advantage of having a group of people consuming on-site is it makes those who have never used cannabis more comfortable,” Jeffrey Kroll, owner of the Shangri-La Care Centers dispensary in Ojai, California, recently told the Los Angeles Times.