Nevada had a fighting shot at becoming the first state in America to bring to life the inception of the cannabis lounge, but lawmakers dragged their feet on the issue, causing it to die a quiet death last week at the steps of the State Assembly.
A report from the Nevada Appeal indicates that Senate Bill 236, which was introduced by Senator Tick Segerblom, failed to be given any consideration from the lower house before last Friday’s deadline—killing the bill until it can be reintroduced in 2018.
The proposal, which was designed to give tourists “options to legally and responsibility consume marijuana,” would have allowed the existence of pot clubs in certain areas. It also would have provided opportunities for promoters to permit public consumption at festivals and other special events.
Earlier last week, Segerblom penned a piece for the Reno Gazette-Journal, hoping to put those on the fence about the potential ramifications of this legislation at ease.
The bill “does not…allow adults to consume marijuana in our parks or on sidewalks, on our roads, in casinos or around gaming, nor in public places near schools or places of worship,” he wrote. “We will be able to provide guidelines for locals and tourists to safely and responsibly use cannabis without impacting the health and safety of our communities.”
Even if the State Legislature had given the bill a better chance for survival, there was still a relatively good chance that it wouldn’t have gone the distance.
Despite his multi-million dollar expectations for the state’s newly legal cannabis trade, Governor Brian Sandoval has never been convinced that social pot use is something that Nevada should get into.
“The governor has called for Nevada’s recreational marijuana industry to be restricted, responsible, and ultimately respected,” a spokesperson for the governor’s office, recently told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “He is doubtful whether ‘pot lounges’ would achieve these stated goals but will review the legislation should it arrive on his desk for signature.”
So far, no legal marijuana state has managed to get it together long enough to establish a law for social use. Colorado attempted to pass one earlier this year, but it ended up so watered down that lawmakers decided to pull the plug.
There was some concern among the state’s legislative forces that allowing pot consumption outside the home might give U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions all that he needs to make good on those threats of a federal crackdown.
Nevada is preparing to launch early recreational marijuana sales at the beginning of July, so tourists will have to get creative if they want to get stoned free of law enforcement interference.
The state’s recreational cannabis industry is expected to generate $7.5 billion in economic activity within the first seven years.
With nearly 13 percent of the state’s gross domestic product coming from the tourism trade, cities like Las Vegas, could have certainly benefited from the presence of cannabis lounges to see that this forecast stays on track.