Marijuana lounges in Clark County a complicated matter – Las Vegas Review-Journal

Could the nation’s first legal and licensed marijuana lounge end up in Southern Nevada?

The short answer? Yes, technically.

The long answer? It’s complicated.

“There’s no rush,” Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani said Friday.

The Nevada Legislature’s lawyers threw a curveball to local governments last week with a legal opinion saying nothing in the state law prohibits marijuana consumption lounges.

After months of following the guidance of the state in navigating the legalization process, local governments are poised to decide whether they want to move forward with something that no city in the nation has done — license and regulate social consumption lounges.

Not so fast

Although elected local officials have an appetite for cannabis clubs, even the most pro-pot lawmakers like Giunchigliani are pumping the brakes.

Giunchigliani said she initially opposed consumption lounges, but she’s seen the need for them since recreational marijuana sales started July 1.

Smoking in public is illegal, and all casinos have been told to ban it on their properties. Giunchigliani said tourists complain they have no place to smoke the drug they bought legally in Las Vegas.

“We’ve put people at risk of violating the law,” she said. “They’re gonna consume someplace.”

But Giunchigliani said that’s not enough reason to immediately license such lounges.

“We have to do this right,” she said.

North Las Vegas City Councilman Isaac Barron said “the time has come” for legalized pot lounges. But he said rushing blindly to open consumption lounges without due diligence “would be contrary to what we want to achieve in legalization.”

“There’s a lot of things we need to work out,” Barron said.

Moving slow in Denver

Denver is the only municipality that has legal consumption lounges on the books after voters in the city approved a ballot measure last November.

But seeing those

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