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Cannabis Lounges Under Consideration by County (Updated)

By Bob Conrad
Published: Last Updated on

UPDATE (4/10/18): The commissioners today voted down the attempt to examine pot lounges now but instead decided to continue the item in the future. No date was given.

Regulations regarding cannabis lounges in Washoe County are scheduled to be heard by the Board of County Commissioners at Tuesday’s meeting.

At issue is whether pot lounges should be legal in unincorporated Washoe County.

The board at its January, 2018, retreat discussed whether the county would take the lead on creating regulations for legal use of cannabis at locations other than private residences, according to the county.

Making such lounges legal is a move expected to contribute significantly to marijuana tourism in states, such as Nevada, that have legalized recreational marijuana.

Washoe County Commissioner Kitty Jung.

Washoe County Commissioner Kitty Jung.

Because cannabis consumption is only allowed in private homes, visitors cannot legally consume cannabis while staying in hotels and casinos, where cannabis consumption is not allowed on premise.

But pot lounges could change that.

According to a county staff report:

The process to begin working on this initiative begins with policy direction from the Board of County Commissioners. The board is being asked to give direction to staff on whether there is support to begin working on regulations for use of marijuana in locations other than a person’s private residence.

Staff is prepared to form a stakeholder group comprised of members of the marijuana industry, law enforcement, health district, gaming industry, hotel industry, and others as necessary to properly vet the concerns and opportunities for the region.

In an effort to gather information for the Board to assist in this decision, staff included a survey question specific to the topic of consumption lounges in the outreach for crafting the permanent recreational marijuana regulations. As with other discussions on marijuana, our residents are strongly divided in the responses on whether they support the concept of lounges in Washoe County. 34% of respondents are strongly against public consumption lounges and 50% strongly support public consumption lounges.

Those against pot lounges cite driving under the influence as a chief reason for opposition, while those in favor argue that a pot lounge is not much different than a bar.

County staff are seeking direction Tuesday from the commissioners as creating new regulations. Commissioner Kitty Jung is pushing the effort.

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