LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A bill designed to give people a place to consume cannabis in public, AB 341, has passed the Nevada Legislature with bipartisan support after several amendments tweaked the bill's original text.
Before passage, people could only consume legal marijuana in their own homes leaving the roughly 40 million tourists traveling to Las Vegas with no place to legally enjoy products from dispensaries.
The bill creates two categories of cannabis lounges where it is legal to consume marijuana in public with regulations from the Cannabis Compliance Board.
It also makes an effort to right certain wrongs brought about by the war on drugs by giving preferential treatment to people who've been punished for violating now repealed marijuana laws referred to in the bill as Social Equity Applicants.
The Social Equity Applicants would have a number of marijuana lounge licenses set aside specifically for them, and give some the possibility of paying lower renewal or application fees.
Layke Martin, Nevada Dispensary Association director, said the bill's passage with support from both sides of the isle spoke volumes.
"We were really excited to see that the bill gained bipartisan support in both houses, and I think that bodes well," she said. "There's a lot ahead of us. There are going to be a lot of regulations in place making sure that these lounges are safe."
One large concern with the bill's original text was it wouldn't allow localities to create their own regulations for marijuana lounges in their jurisdictions.
A late amendment to AB 341 allowed cities and counties to create rules stricter than those sent down from the Cannabis Compliance Board.
The bill has been sent to Gov. Steve Sisolak's desk for a signature.