Regulators in the state expect to have the lounges operational by early 2023.
According to a recent news release, the Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board (CCB) received 100 applications for the state's first-ever cannabis consumption lounge licenses between October 14th and October 27th. The plan is to begin issuing approvals in the early part of 2023.
A little more than a year ago, Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) signed the law establishing legal consumption lounges in Nevada. It allows for two types of licenses for those companies applying. One enables current retailers to apply for a license to construct lounges into their existing businesses. At the same time, the other license type allows independent lounges to enter into contracts with retailers to buy and prepare consumable marijuana products for resale at new facilities.
The Board received 20 applications from established retail outlets, 50 from independent lounge applicants, and 30 from independent social equity applicants. The CCB will issue 20 licenses for consumption lounges from the pool of independent candidates.
In a statement, the CCB said, "Per state law, the CCB may issue 20 independent cannabis consumption lounge licenses, half of which are designated for social equity applicants. The CCB will review all independent cannabis consumption lounge applications to ensure applicants have met all necessary requirements."
"Per state law, the CCB may issue 20 independent cannabis consumption lounge licenses, half of which are designated for social equity applicants. The CCB will review all independent cannabis consumption lounge applications to ensure applicants have met all necessary requirements."
- The Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board
Following the review process, the Board will conduct two drawings through a random number selector in early December to determine which applicants will receive independent marijuana consumption lounge licenses for non-social equity and social equity candidates. The first lounges are expected to be licensed and operational sometime in early 2023.
Concerning applications from existing retail dispensaries, the Board shares, "There is no competitive selection process required. Upon receiving final inspection, licensure, and approval by the Board, retail cannabis consumption lounges may open."
The CCB approved Consumption Lounge regulations over the summer. The law also enables companies to pair marijuana with yoga, serve cannabis-infused food, offer THC-aided massage therapy and incorporate marijuana in other approved manners.
In a 4/20 op-ed for Marijuana Moment this year, Governor Sisolak explained, "The idea isn't new, but no one is doing it like we are in Nevada. While most of the consumption lounges in other states don't offer food, beverages, or other entertainment options. Nevada's lounges will be a one-stop entertainment shop to create jobs, grow the industry, and boost our economy."
"The idea isn't new, but no one is doing it like we are in Nevada. While most of the consumption lounges in other states don't offer food, beverages, or other entertainment options. Nevada's lounges will be a one-stop entertainment shop to create jobs, grow the industry, and boost our economy."
- Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak (D)
Per the CCB-approved regulations, cannabis consumption must be hidden from public view. Likewise, smoking and vaping must occur in a separate room in the lounge or be banned altogether. In addition, single-use or ready-for-consumption marijuana products cannot be taken off-site, and businesses must provide water free of charge to every guest.
The regulations also limit single-use marijuana offerings to no more than 3.5 grams of usable cannabis, with "extracted inhalable cannabis products" (vaping or dabbing products) restricted to 300 milligrams of THC. Moreover, all single-use products containing more than one gram of usable marijuana and all extracted "inhalables" must have written potency warnings.
Furthermore, individual servings of ready-to-consume edibles are to be capped at 10 milligrams of THC (a fairly standard amount in states with legal adult-use marijuana). Topical products will be limited to 400 milligrams of THC, and transdermal patches, as well as all other cannabis products, will contain no more than 100 milligrams of THC, according to the new CCB guidelines.
Finally, the lounges will be cannabis-only, with no alcohol, tobacco, or nicotine products being sold.
State officials estimate that cannabis sales generated close to $1 billion in revenue in Nevada for the 2022 Fiscal Year. The hope is that these new lounges will add to that substantial total and provide visitors to the state with yet another differentiator making their experience much more magical.