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Nye County to allow pot consumption lounges

For the past four years, recreational marijuana has been legal in the Silver State but those visiting the area have not had any place to legally consume the products they can purchase at the huge array of retail dispensaries located all around Nevada.

It was a problem that state lawmakers were well aware of and though it took quite a bit of time, the lack of legal consumption venues eventually led to the passage of Assembly Bill 341 during the 2021 Nevada Legislative Session. Now, with that new law authorizing the Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board to license and regulate cannabis consumption lounges, Nye County officials have turned their attention to the possibility of permitting such establishments locally. By a 4-1 vote, the commission decided to allow for pot lounges within the confines of the county, with county codes to address what will be a new branch of the pot industry set to be drafted in the coming months.

The item was before the Nye County Commission at its Tuesday, Oct. 19 meeting and commissioner Leo Blundo opened the discussion by first making a motion to allow for cannabis consumption lounges, while simultaneously directing staff to notify the Cannabis Compliance Board of the county’s decision and to begin working on county code to reflect that decision.

A quick second followed from commissioner Bruce Jabbour, after which Blundo noted that he’d also like staff to reach out to the Nye County Consultants Association, which is geared toward fostering the marijuana industry, as he felt that organization would be a valuable partner in the development of the codes necessary to regulate the consumption lounges.

Nye County Planning Director Brett Waggoner then stepped in to state that there was just one key piece to the action that needed to be clarified, regarding a possible limit on the number of cannabis consumption lounges allowed in Nye County.

Blundo said that was something that would be better determined by the Cannabis Compliance Board itself, and he adjusted his motion to state that Nye County would not be placing a limit on the number of consumption lounge licenses it would permit.

“We’ll have to see what the CCB is going to allow us to have to begin with,” Blundo stated, later adding, “The way I understood it was, you would be eligible for one of these licenses per dispensary. We’re looking at two, and we’ve already made a request for a third one in an area outside of Pahrump. So if we at this time begin arbitrarily limiting and saying yes, it’s limited, you’re also not including any of the other socially disadvantaged licenses. I think we’re at the very, very beginning and we’re looking to see what comes out of the CCB. I don’t see any harm there and we can always revisit this at a later date.”

“There are also provisions for independent lounges that have nothing to do with a dispensary or retail store,” Waggoner noted, with a letter from the Cannabis Compliance Board detailing that no more than 50% of the consumption lounge licenses allocated by that board should go to retail dispensaries.

“At least 50 percent of the licenses allocated to a local governmental jurisdiction… must be issued to independent cannabis consumption lounges,” the letter reiterates.

The motion passed 4-1 with commissioner Donna Cox the sole voice against.

“We’re going to hell in a hand-basket. I thought all this was going to be in-home use only and now we’re at this level. Where will it go next? I’m going to vote against, I am just not comfortable with it,” Cox stated as the item came to a close.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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