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Regulation issues push opening of marijuana lounges to 2023

The Clark County Commission continues to iron out its regulations for marijuana consumption lounges.

Following a Tuesday presentation from the county’s Business License Department, questions remained about hours of operation, how many licenses will be issued, whether to allow outdoor consumption and entertainment, fee structures and guidelines for customer education.

Commissioners voted unanimously to delay possible action for another 30 days.

This will likely will postpone estimates about possibly having the first lounges spring up by the end of 2022.

“I was hoping to have everything done by the end of the year and have that first place open,” Commissioner Tick Segerblom told the Review-Journal. “But just based on today’s conversation” that may not happen until the first quarter of 2023, he added.

Segerblom said he hopes that in a month commissioners will be able to vote to give staff direction on the regulations discussed Tuesday.

Current dispensary owners may apply for a single license, per a law passed at the 2021 legislative session that legalized consumption lounges.

Nevada initially will license 20 independent operators across the state. Half will be “social equity applicants” who were negatively affected by marijuana laws before the drug was legalized in 2017.

Municipalities are charged with establishing their own regulations but can’t weaken what state lawmakers passed, which includes distance buffers from certain gaming establishments, schools and community-oriented facilities, such as parks and worship establishments.

Lounges will have to deny entrance to those under the age 21, bar firearms and refrain from selling alcohol or nicotine products, which are prohibited. Other guidelines outline ventilation, sale limits, security, proper signage and labeling, and employee training on how to spot over-consumption.

Excluding the limited independent operators, the lounges are required to be attached to dispensaries.

Clark County is tasked with interpreting what “attached or immediately adjacent” means, and commissioners debated whether a dispensary in a shopping center may operate its lounge at another suite not directly connected to the retail store.

“What we need to be sure of is that we address some of these real important issues that will continue to affect quality of life right down into neighborhoods, into the schools, into the parks,” Commissioner Jim Gibson said. “So let’s be real cautions of how we proceed.”

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

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