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Nevada marijuana lounge licenses overwhelmingly in Las Vegas area

Updated December 2, 2022 - 8:00 pm

An overwhelming majority of prospective Nevada marijuana consumption lounges that were issued state licenses might open in the Las Vegas area.

Thirty-six of the 40 provisional license holders originate from the city of Las Vegas (15) or unincorporated Clark County (21), according to the Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board.

The chosen businesses will “in the coming weeks” receive further instructions, and have 120 days to “provide the documentation and information required” for a suitability investigation, the board said.

The applicants previously chose what municipality they intended to operate in. Now they’ll need approval from either the Las Vegas City Council or Clark County Commission, which voted to allow the lounges but haven’t finished ironing out their own regulations.

North Las Vegas and Henderson opted out of the process.

The lounges, legalized by the 2021 Nevada Legislature, are expected to start opening in the first half of 2023.

They will resemble taverns, but with no alcohol service, and will allow the legal, public consumption of marijuana for the first time since the state legalized its recreational use in 2016.

Nevada licensed only 20 independent lounges statewide, half of which were from “social equity” applicants negatively affected by marijuana laws before legalization.

The compliance board received 79 viable applications for independent licenses during a 10-day window in October.

On Wednesday, the board held a pair of drawings using a “random number selector” — which were essentially computerized lotteries — to winnow down the number.

The process, which was closed to the public but streamed online, was run by Smartplay International Inc., a New Jersey-based company. It was overseen by the Henry and Horne public accounting firm.

These lounges will be able to operate as stand-alone locations. Eighteen of those licenses went to Las Vegas and Clark County businesses. The other two went to Nye County locations.

Nevada did not set a limit on the number of marijuana dispensaries it would license to operate lounges attached to or “adjacent” to their retail space.

A total of 20 dispensaries applied for, and received provisional state licenses. Only two of those licenses — in Washoe and Storey counties — were issued outside unincorporated Clark County and Las Vegas.

Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at rtorres@reviewjournal.com. Follow @rickytwrites on Twitter.

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