As Denver begins a great experiment with social use licensing in the city, Las Vegas looks on to try and decide whether or not a similar program could work locally.
In a cautious but smart move, the officials who hold authority over the Las Vegas strip have announced that until Denver’s program goes into effect and they can observe the effects, they’re going to hold off on a conversation about licensing and regulating social use clubs and lounges in sin city.
Though it is a smart move to delay, it also means continued issues for tourists; though Nevada legalized recreational cannabis on July 1st and there is significant interest from out-of-towners, there is currently no straightforward and legal route for tourists to enjoy some bud. This is because current regulations dictate that recreational consumption of cannabis should only be in the privacy of one’s own home. The prohibition on public consumption extends to casinos, bars, restaurants, parks, concerts, and on US property: that last bit includes everything from subsidized housing to national parks.
“I don’t know if we need to be first or not, I don’t see any reason why we have to be the first, but we certainly have to be right,” said commissioner James Gibson in a public meeting on the subject. “…We have to make sure that when we do our part, we’re entirely consistent, we’re thorough in the way we’ve done it (and) we don’t make for ourselves a mess that it would take years to get out of.”
Denver, on the other hand, opened up registration for social use licensing in August and has not yet seen any applications, a foreseen slowness that comes with the extensive nature of the application process, which includes support from local groups.
Nevada’s Governor Brian Sandoval, a Republican who has also been a federal judge, initially opposed legalization but has supported it in the face of citizen approval. He has, however, expressed concern that opening the way for social pot lounges could also open the state up to federal scrutiny additional to what’s already being directed their way. Despite the hurdles, the committee seems steadfast in their interest in opening the possibility of social use; they just want to be cautious about it and do it right.