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Nevada's legislature approves cannabis lounges, which could help Utah 'pot tourists'

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Posted at 11:48 AM, Jun 01, 2021

The Nevada State Legislature has approved a bill to allow for the creation of special places where people can legally consume recreational marijuana.

By a vote of 17-3, the Nevada State Senate on Monday approved Assembly Bill 341. It will allow for the creation of "cannabis lounges" near dispensaries across the state. The Senate attached an amendment allowing local communities to enact stricter rules than the state, if they wish.

The Nevada Assembly agreed to the amendment, and the bill is now headed to Governor Steve Sisolak's desk for his signature or veto.

The bill was designed to solve a problem created when Nevada voters legalized recreational marijuana use in 2016. Right now, it's illegal to consume marijuana outside a private residence. For visitors to Nevada, it leaves them with nowhere to go, legally speaking.

The bill could impact border communities that are already seeing "pot tourists" from Utah. It is illegal to bring recreational marijuana purchased at a Nevada dispensary across state lines (though Utah medical cannabis patients technically get a pass under current state law).

West Wendover Mayor Daniel Corona said he favors the idea of cannabis lounges, with proper controls.

"I was excited to see the bill pass and that it was amended to allow local governments to be more restrictive similar to dispensaries," he said in a text message to FOX 13 on Tuesday.

But the mayor said it was unclear when such a place would open in West Wendover — if one did.

"I definitely think it’s a conversation that needs to happen soon but I’m not sure that it will until we have someone actually come forward with a plan to open one," he wrote.

In Mesquite, Mayor Al Litman said he was not in favor of cannabis lounges.