That will change soon. Nevada is the latest state to allow cannabis consumption salons as the drug gains acceptance among the general public. As regulators wonder how to oversee businesses, dispensaries are already planning to open the first state-sanctioned salons by mid-2022.
The policy of tea rooms evolves with the evolution of social mores around the substance. While Colorado and Washington were the first states to legalize adult use in 2012, it wasn’t until 2019 that Alaska first passed a cannabis consumption salon law. Other states have since followed suit.
Planet 13’s cannabis show is sure to be Vegas-style excess. The company plans to have an 8,500 square foot consumer lounge with a “grand staircase” leading to a 5,000 square foot balcony with a 4 inch deep paddling pool.
“You take off your shoes. You dance in the water. You consume cannabis and there are 100,000 rooms overlooking you from the towers of Vegas, ”said Planet 13 co-CEO Larry Scheffler, gesturing around a cavernous warehouse space that will one day house the grass lounge. “[There] won’t look like anything like it in the world when we’re done.
So far, no major US city in any weed-legal state has emerged as a destination like Amsterdam where consumers can light up freely in ubiquitous cannabis cafes.
Las Vegas could fill that void.
At least that’s what Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom hopes. Segerblom is a former state senator who led the medical marijuana legalization efforts in 2013 and enthusiastically supported the adult use legalization initiative in 2016. There’s even a marijuana there. variety that bears his name: Segerblom Haze.
“I spoke of [cannabis lounges] from day one, ”said Segerblom, who tried to pass a social consumption bill in the state Senate in 2017.“ It’s such a perfect thing for Las Vegas – for who we are.
While the hospitality industry opposed Segerblom’s bill in 2017, growing acceptance in society is changing the policy of cannabis use. In addition, Vegas hotels now have to deal with clients who flout the rules and other clients who dislike the pungent smell of cannabis. Giving tourists a legal place to light up could reduce smoking where it is not allowed.
How we got here
When states began to pass laws to legalize marijuana, provisions for public consumption were noticeably absent. Perhaps tuned in to the specter of coffee pots chasing otherwise sympathetic voters, early legalization initiatives included bans on public cannabis use.
Alaska became the first U.S. state to allow consumer lounges in 2019, but three years later they are in short supply due to the high cost of compliance and local restrictions. Consumer lounges in Illinois, which are BYOB (ud)-only, are getting off to a slow start, and not a single salon has opened in Michigan yet. Onerous regulations have kept weed cafes from spreading throughout California and Colorado, with only a handful dotting major cities.
But that’s about to change. Colorado and California lawmakers passed legal changes that will facilitate openness potted coffees. Denver will begin this week accepting applications from social equity applicants for cannabis hospitality licenses. Additionally, New York and New Mexico recently adopted the legalization bills allow the consumption of cannabis on the spot, while Connecticut lawmakers have left it open, ordering regulators to make recommendations.
In a more mature cannabis market like Nevada, introducing new licenses for consumer shows is seen as a way to strengthen social equity when the market is already saturated. The state has many dispensaries, but there is only one consumer parlor on tribal lands, operated by the Las Vegas Paiute tribe.
While existing dispensaries will be able to apply for a single consumer salon license, regulators can also issue up to 20 independent cannabis salon licenses by July 2022. At least half of those licenses must go to social equity applicants, what the law broadly defines as a business owned by people “favored” by the criminalization of cannabis.
Some retailers are still a year away from building their planned salon spaces, Layke Martin, executive director of the Nevada Dispensary Association, said last month during a panel at MJ Unpacked. This is because a cannabis salon has air quality and odor issues that businesses like restaurants and bars don’t have to deal with.
“What you think you’re going to spend, you’re probably going to double,” said Jenn Tramaglino, CEO of Cannect Hospitality, at MJ Unpacked. “You plan not only to have an HVAC system for your entire space, but for each of the individual spaces inside. “
This raises questions as to whether social equity seekers – who often struggle to raise funds – will have enough capital to create viable businesses.
Clark County plans to create a Social Equity Applicants Fund from its municipal marijuana revenues. The county spends $ 12 million in marijuana revenue per year on homeless assistance programs. Any amount of revenue generated by the county above that $ 12 million will be used to fund Social Equity Candidates and other marijuana-related initiatives. The county estimates it will raise $ 18 million this year, the Las Vegas Review Journal reported.
Earlier this month, the Cannabis Advisory Board put forward draft rules for the regulation of consumer salons. Besides social equity, they have other difficult issues to deal with.
Nevada law only allows salons to sell single-serve products, which means consumers can’t take leftovers home.
Could this cause people to overconsume? What is a “single serving” of cannabis anyway, when different people experience very different effects from the same product? Will there be limits to the amount of cannabis a person is allowed to consume in a salon in a single visit?
Chelsea Bedard, chief revenue officer for the cannabis drink brand CANN, sees the shows as an opportunity to show naive cannabis users that the substance can be an alternative to alcohol. CANN specializes in the production of micro-dosed cannabis drinks; the company’s most potent seltzer contains just 5 mg of THC.
“It really allows us to introduce the space to newbies and curious people because we’re giving them something they already know,” she told MJ Unpacked.
The future of cannabis use in Sin City
The Source, a cannabis company with four locations in the Las Vegas area, primarily serves locals who are “happy to get their product and come home and consume,” CEO Simon Nankervis said.
But the company plans to open a new dispensary in the Arts District – an area filled with craft breweries, small galleries and vintage clothing stores – and use that location for its consumer lounge. A consumer lounge is “in keeping with the way people socialize in this part of town,” Nankervis said.
He hopes the regulations will allow businesses to have outdoor consumption areas.
“The weather is incredible [in Nevada]”Nankervis said.” Outdoor dining is available year round, why can’t we have outdoor dining lounges? “
But some Vegas weed advocates dream much bigger. Segerblom envision a day when people can take a Pilates class or massage studios, or even blow on a joint while having their hair cut.
“Lounges are just the first step,” he said. “It’s going to be crazy.”