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Las Vegas revives efforts to consider 'marijuana lounges'

Nevada Legislature lawyers give green light for local governments to license marijuana consumption lounges. 9/12/17 (Nathan O'Neal)

The city of Las Vegas is reviving efforts to create marijuana consumption lounges – safe places for adults 21 and older – to smoke in a social setting.

On Wednesday, the city held a public workshop to discuss a draft ordinance which would allow “social use venues” specifically for marijuana.

“It’s really cool to think that possibly one day we’ll have a consumption lounge next door, maybe right above us,” said Audrey Bolton, general manager of Cheba Hut located on Sahara and Rainbow.

Cheba Hut is all about the counterculture, and even though the sandwich shop in Las Vegas is located just steps away from a marijuana dispensary, smoking there is not allowed -- at least, not yet. The location itself would not qualify for a marijuana lounge under the currently proposed rules, which requires no windows and no outdoor seating.

“We are trying to get it right the first time,” said one Las Vegas city attorney at the meeting.

A draft ordinance explores how to create a designated space for adults to smoke, especially with the federal government.

“There absolutely needs to be a safe place for people to consume cannabis for our tourists and our locals too,” said cannabis consultant Jason Sturtsman. “They've added a security plan ... a fire plan ... there's odor control as part of it as well.”

City leaders have balked at the idea of pot lounges before saying they wouldn’t consider it again until 2019.

Las Vegas city staff told the crowd the earliest the council could vote on this issue is about three months from now and is continuing to seek public comment on the matter.

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