LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Bar-like pot lounges could soon be nearly as common as marijuana dispensaries across the Las Vegas valley following the Nevada Legislature's vote to legalize the shops in the 2021 session.
The public spaces to light a joint or consume an edible have been an exciting prospect for people like Jasmin Rodriguez.
"Let people have fun," Rodriguez said, "because if everybody smoked weed, everybody would just be happy. Just let people be happy. Weed is great. Weed is life."
Clark County Commissioners, however, have vowed to regulate the lounges to ensure no one gets high and then decides to drive on public roadways.
The Clark County Department of Traffic Safety said more than 142 deadly crashes have happened since the beginning of 2022.
"My concern is that we're only going to make matters worse in our communities," said Commissioner Michael Naft, (D) District A.
Naft said he and other commissioners have been looking at passing legal guardrails before the first blunt is lit in a lounge.
Naft tweeted that he would vote no on any regulatory package that didn't include comprehensive safety measures and was joined in the movement by commissioners Justin Jones and Tick Segerblom.
Naft said proposals on the table include forcing businesses to educate customers about the dangers of driving while impaired, making businesses liable for customers who leave high and crash their cars, and making lounge parking lots tow-free zones so customers aren't hauled away for doing the responsible thing and calling for a ride.
"The best thing to do is decide to ride early on," he said.
Rodriguez said she'd be disappointed if the rules were too strict.
"I've never once gotten into an accident, don't tell my momma, driving while I was, you know," she said, "after a little joint."
Naft said without rules, Las Vegas roadways could be more deadly than they've been as fatal crashes rise.
"We in Clark County have to do it better than anywhere else in the world," he said. "We have a microscope on us."
Naft said it would take time to formulate a traffic safety package adding that it could be weeks or months before the commission has a concrete proposal.
Cannabis lounges are expected to begin opening by the end of 2022.