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Las Vegas May Become Second U.S. City to Allow Social Use Venues

  • by Madisen Saglibene, Executive Director of Las Vegas NORML June 30, 2018

    Despite recreational marijuana use being legal in Nevada, the 42 million annual visitors don’t have any options for a place to consume. State law doesnt allow public consumption, and casinos and hotels have banned cannabis on their properties. In fact, claims have been made that Las Vegas security personnel have been very forceful and militant regarding public consumption despite confusion on behalf of the tourists.

    I thanked the City Attorney’s office on Wednesday for their leadership on the proposed social use venue ordinance. “Though the majority of intentions throughout this process today are revenue seeking, NORML views it as a form of social justice, and for this we thank you.”

    The ordinance would allow the City of Las Vegas to issue Business Licenses specifically known as “Social Use Venues”, which would allow people to bring in their own cannabis to consume. This ordinance would also allow patrons to purchase alcoholic beverages of up to 11%, but the space needs to be fully enclosed and utilize strict air filtration regulation, making it so no special event permits can be given. Las Vegas is, however, one of the few U.S. cities to allow cigarette smoking indoors still to this day.

    With a team of 7 in bright green, Nevada NORML advocated that cannabis consumers should not be forced behind enclosures, nor should they be subjected to a 24 hour live stream of their activities fed directly to law enforcement. Though the city was quick to respond that this was a safety measure that would only be utilized in certain circumstances, Saglibene told them a warrant should need to be obtained for the footage.

    City Attorney, Bryan Scott made it clear the proposed ordinance is only the first draft and will undergo many changes before it is approved. Skeptics say that the inclusion of alcohol will be a hard sell to voters on the committee.

    NORML volunteer Madison Rodgers inquired about how proposed federal legislation could impact this ordinance if passed, “Are you familiar with the STATES act?” The answer from all parties holding the meeting, was no.

    Last year, Las Vegas NORML made several attempts to ask the City of Las Vegas and the Convention & Visitors Authority to put information on their website to educate visitors on the laws to create less confusion, and ultimately arrests. After all, we can’t rely on dispensaries to tell the customers that there is nowhere for them to consume that product legally. The requests from both agencies were ignored, and almost a year after the program has gone into effect, there is still no public information available to our tourists through those channels. Public consumption in Las Vegas is punishable by $600 and could still result in being arrested. Though local law enforcement has been instructed to only issue citations in most situations, there have been more arrests for public consumption made already this year compared to last.For more information, please follow Las Vegas & Nevada NORML on Facebook & Instagram.

    Click on the image above to watch the live stream! NORML begins at about 55 minutes.

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