82°F
weather icon Clear

Legislative committee: No pot lounges in Nevada

CARSON CITY — Just as one local government made its move to allow for marijuana consumption lounges, an amendment to a bill in the Legislature threatens to stall those efforts.

The Assembly Judiciary Committee approved the amendment to Assembly Bill 533 Friday morning. The bill would create the Cannabis Compliance Board, one of Gov. Steve Steve Sisolak’s key proposals this session.

In its original version, the bill would have given the new board the authority to hand out state licenses to operate consumption lounges. But the amendment approved in committee Friday excised that language from the bill and added a provision that would temporarily bar local governments from licensing such lounges.

That prohibition on local governments would expire on July 1, 2021, under the new amendment.

Assemblyman Steve Yeager, D-Las Vegas, chairman of the committee, said the changes came at the request of Sisolak’s office.

“I just think we’ve got to get it right. And I don’t feel comfortable that we were going to get that balance right in the next 10 days,” he said. “So while I would like to see them open as quick as possible, I also don’t want to have a situation where they’re opening and they’re not successful and they have ail kinds of associated problems.”

The amendment also calls for the cannabis board to conduct a two-year study on consumption lounges.

“The governor believes that it’s better to address this issue the right way than the quick way, which is why he’s establishing the Cannabis Compliance Board to address some of the issues that have arisen as a result of rushed decisions made in the past and to establish a comprehensive, statewide regulatory structure that will make Nevada’s cannabis industry the gold standard in the nation,” Sisolak spokeswoman Helen Kalla said in a statement. “The governor believes that consumption lounges have a place in the future of Nevada’s rapidly-growing cannabis industry, and looks forward to the work that the CCB will do in the interim to ensure that this part of the industry is well-positioned to add to the job creation and economic growth our cannabis industry has brought to the state.”

If AB533 were to pass in its amended form, it’s unclear how it would affect the ordinance that the city of Las Vegas passed this month that allows for consumption lounges.

City spokesman Jace Radke said in an email that “the city is still reviewing this amendment to determine how it impacts the city ordinance.”

Las Vegas’s decision came two years after a legal opinion issued by the Legislative Counsel Bureau said there was no state law preventing local governments from licensing lounges themselves.

The city’s ordinance on lounges drew support from the likes of the Metropolitan Police Department, but the Nevada Resort Association, the gaming industry’s primary state lobbying organization, opposed the concept.

On AB533, the resort association had proposed an amendment that would have required consumption lounges to be at least 1,500 feet from any licensed gaming property, a larger separation than for schools or community facilities.

“For our industry, it’s a compatibility issue. As long as cannabis remains illegal on the federal level, Nevada’s gaming regulators have directed gaming license holders to steer clear of the cannabis business,” Virginia Valentine, president of the resorts association, said in an email. “We’re encouraged to see the governor and legislative leadership provide the time needed to create an effective regulatory structure that ensures the gaming industry and the cannabis industry continue to operate separately and successfully.”

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Colton Lochehad at clochhead@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-3820. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Media's Double Standard On Incitement And Trump - Video
Over the weekend, an Elizabeth Warren-supporting socialist who opposed gun violence used a rifle to commit a mass murder in Dayton, Ohio. The media has downplayed that aspect of the tragedy.
Project Our Care Tour Kicks Off In Las Vegas
U.S. Rep. Dina Titus joined health care advocates and local residents as part of Protect Our Care’s nationwide bus tour kick off in Las Vegas on Monday, August 5, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders talks about guns, response to El Paso shooting
Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke about his response and continued policy ideas about guns and gun control to the Review-Journal after a panel of other topics. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pete Buttigieg On Gun Control And Climate Change - Video
Pete Buttigieg talks about his campaign for the 2020 election and how Nevada is a vision of what the future can be.
Beto O'Rourke speaks in Las Vegas
Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke spoke to supporters at the East Las Vegas Community Center in Las Vegas, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Nevada Senate leader Kelvin Atkinson sentenced to prison
Former Nevada Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson, who pleaded guilty to misusing campaign funds, was sentenced to 27 months in prison on Thursday, July 18, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trumps Strength is also a Weakness - Video
One of Donald Trump’s greatest strengths — his ability to shape national narratives — is also a great weakness.
Tax the Rich Bus Tour makes a stop in Las Vegas - Video
The Tax the Rich Bus has stopped in Las Vegas as part of its summer tour. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ - Video
Assembly Woman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ to bring the community together to hear about the candidates up for election and for people to gather and have fun.
Democrat Virtual Caucus - Video
Elizabeth Warren visits Las Vegas
Senator Elizabeth Warren made a campaign stop at the East Las Vegas Community Center on Tuesday July 2, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Aaron Ford Speaks About Bill AB431
AB431 is a bill sponsored by Nevada Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson to restore the right to vote for formerly incarcerated individuals. Attorney General Aaron Ford spoke at the AM&E Church in North Las Vegas about the bill, on Monday, July 1, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Right Take: Biden's Racially Questionable Comments
Joe Biden has uttered racially charged statements for years. Now that he’s the frontrunner for the Democrat presidential nomination, he may finally face prolonged scrutiny for them.
Christopher Rufo Discusses Homelessness In The USA - VIDEO
Christopher Rufo discusses homelessness in the United States and how politicians can work to improve conditions for those with drug addictions.
Clark County 2019 Election Results - Video
The 2019 Elections wrap up in Clark County including an upset in the Boulder City Mayor race.
Olivia Diaz talks about her win in Ward 3 - VIDEO
Las Vegas City Councilwoman-elect Olivia Diaz talks about her election win in Ward 3 and what lies ahead for her.
Greene discusses Read by 3 and Opportunity Scholarships - VIDEO
The Nevada Legislative Session is over and the results are mixed for Nevada students, according to Tom Greene, Senior regional legislative director, Excel in Ed in Action.
Bernie Sanders visits Las Vegas
Sen. Bernie Sanders made a stop at Roy W. Martin middle school on Thursday, during his campaign trail.
THE LATEST
Sisolak signs public records reform bill into law

Gov. Steve Sisolak signed a bill that strengthens Nevada’s public records law, making it easier and cheaper for people to get public records and providing for fines if public agencies willfully flout the law.