Cannabis Law Prof Blog

Editor: Franklin G. Snyder
Texas A&M University
School of Law

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Move Over Amsterdam

Content_amsterdam_coffee_shopSin City may soon have a new vice. Nevada is looking to be the first legalized state with cannabis lounges and many hope this will create a new avenue of tourism. Lounges, otherwise known as coffee shops in Amsterdam, are regulated areas in public where cannabis users can smoke. They are essentially cannabis bars. Reid Nelson with The Hill reports that the Legislative Counsel Bureau in Nevada has given the green light to cities and counties to adopt rules that will allow lounges to go into place. According to the Counsel, Nevada's state law does not prohibit the creation of lounges by local governments. The idea of legal smoking lounges are facing both support and opposition from multiple sides. As reported: 

The Nevada legislator who spearheaded much of the legalization movement, state Sen. Tick Segerblom (D), has said he thinks marijuana will attract new tourists to the state.

“We’re going to really market this thing around the world,” Segerblom told The Hill in a recent interview...

But legalization skeptics say the growing prevalence of marijuana stores, and lounges where those products can be consumed, increase the risk of crime associated with the nascent industry.

“The people of Nevada wanted folks not to go to jail for using marijuana,” said Kevin Sabet, who heads the anti-legalization group Smart Approaches to Marijuana. “I don’t think they envisioned pot clubs in their neighborhood.”

The difference in opinions between advocates and skeptics will surely create some interesting debate within local communities. However, there is an additional player who should not be forgotten: Casinos.

Thomas Moore with the Las Vegas Sun wrote about the difficulty Casinos are having with legal cannabis. The Nevada Gaming Commission is trying to address these issues and give guidance to Casinos. Specifically, Casinos must balance the conflict between federal and state laws. If now Las Vegas wants to become a worldwide destination for cannabis tourists, Casinos are unlikely to welcome this competition.  It seems Casinos have an incentive to oppose cannabis lounges. 

Traditionally, Amsterdam has been known as the most popular destination for cannabis tourism. Some people in Nevada are hoping to change that. Local communities will soon debate the pros and cons of allowing lounges in their cities and casinos are unlikely to sit by quietly. 

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/cannabis_law/2017/09/working-title-.html

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