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Marijuana lounges, weed consumption at special events legal, opinion says

Mon, Sep 11, 2017 (1:33 p.m.)

Commercial lounges for using recreational marijuana would be legal under state law, as long as people were consuming under the legal limit of the plant and it was not being sold, according to an opinion by the Legislative Counsel Bureau.

A letter on Sunday from Legislative Counsel Brenda Erdoes to state Sen. Tick Segerblom says such consumption is permitted as long as marijuana is not being used “unlawfully.”

“It is the opinion of this office that a business may establish and operate a lounge or other facility or special event at which patrons of the business are allowed to use marijuana,” Erdoes said in the letter.

The opinion notes that only Nevada’s 60 licensed dispensaries can sell marijuana and that local jurisdictions would have the right to regulate such ventures.

The state Attorney General’s Office referred questions about the opinion to the Department of Taxation, which is tasked with implementing recreational marijuana laws.

A ballot question legalizing recreational marijuana allows adults to possess and consume up to an ounce of marijuana flower or an eighth of an ounce of concentrate. But the law is vague on whether it can be used outside of private residences.

“This basically says local governments can license these businesses if they want to,” said Segerblom, who unsuccessfully introduced a bill in the Legislature to create a framework for local jurisdictions to license marijuana lounges. The bill was scrapped after it missed a legislative deadline.

Segerblom said dozens of marijuana conferences and events that frequent the Las Vegas Valley each year, such as the High Times Cannabis Cup, will benefit from the opinion, although marijuana still cannot be used at Nevada casinos.

The final say will be up to city councils and county commissions, said Segerblom, who is leaving the state Senate next year and plans to run for a seat on the Clark County Commission.

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