Las Vegas – Lack of Places to Smoke Cannabis are a Cause for Concern

Approximately 43 million people journey to Las Vegas to have some fun annually. “Sin City” offers a variety of activities for tourists, from gambling in high-class casinos to shows catering to a plethora of interests. One of the many recreations that people seek out is the freedom to smoke marijuana now that it is a legal commodity. However, this idea has a major flaw: marijuana can be smoked in very few public places legally even if you purchase your weed from a Las Vegas recreational dispensary.

Recreational cannabis is legal in ten states, including Nevada. However, the catch is that it is not legal in a majority of public spaces due to safety regulations. People who chose to use marijuana in private spaces are also at risk, as landlords and hotel management reserve the right to kick people out of their rooms and homes for using marijuana.

A suggestion offered by the Democratic senator of Nevada, Tick Segerblom, is the creation of lounges dedicated to the legal consumption of pot. Currently, no regulations exist in cities and states such as Oregon, Washington, and Colorado Springs concerning safe spaces for marijuana users. This is a result of complications in combining these rules with existing ones in place regarding restrictions on smoking indoors. For this reason, temporary regulations created for lounges have not had much success.

In conjunction with indoor restrictions, there is concern that cannabis lounges may pose a health risk. One of these concerns is that there will be a correlation between weed lounges and an increase in driving while under the influence of the substance. If this were to occur, it could cause the federal government to put an end to the legalization of marijuana.

These issues are now making it difficult for business owners and law enforcers alike. One of the biggest problems is that while it is legal to own a club that allows people to smoke, this club has to be private. However, it is hard to tell which clubs are private and which are free for the public to be patrons of.

Opinions are slowly changing as newly weed-friendly states usher in initiatives that would allow for weed lounges to exist alongside their marijuana-free counterparts. For example, Maine’s initiative has proposed a set of rules that permit the opening of clubs allowing for the usage of marijuana as long as the said club is has applied for and received proper licensing.

In states like Nevada where there are a number of clubs and bars that allow the smoking of cigarettes, the idea of lounges and clubs allowing the same thing, but with cannabis, may not be such a farfetched concept.

Uncertainty is Stalling Progress

The legalization of the ingestion of marijuana in public spaces is taking an extended amount of time for several reasons. These reasons range from existing rules in place for the benefit of air quality to uncertainty regarding the safety of the drug. This has turned the discussion on whether lounges deserve allowance into a “divisive area,” according to the former director of Colorado’s marijuana coordination, Andrew Freedman.

Alaska has attempted to allow public smoking by making it legal for its citizens to use marijuana at their designated dispensaries. However, the state’s lawmakers hesitate to go any further due to questions and concerns that have arisen pertaining to the safety of creating “tasting rooms.” Other questions that concerned legislation members pose have to do with how regulation will be imposed on the purchasing of pot or if happy hours will be eradicated for the safety of patrons.

Some states are sticking to their guns on the prohibition of lounges. One of these states is Oregon, where a bill legalizing such an establishment was shut down immediately due to worries about the type of example that it would set. This does not come as a surprise considering Oregon’s existing laws prohibiting the use of inhalants in places of work.

Colorado’s state representative, Dan Pabon of the democratic party, compares all of the concerns that are causing state legislation to drag their feet to similar queries that have existed in the past and continue to do so today in respect to public use of alcohol and cigarettes. The thing “keeping things at bay,” Pabon says, is that there is a smaller amount of data that exists concerning the effect of second-hand marijuana smoke in comparison to cigarette smoke and other tobacco products.

However, the indecisiveness of state lawmakers has created more questions than complacency in individual communities. For Nevada, it was never specified who had the authority to grant licenses for weed clubs and lounges. Lawyers serving the state decided that communities have the right to grant licenses to proposed weed lounges. However, Nevada’s attorney general refuses to offer an opinion.

Republican governor Brian Sandoval believes such lounges should be regulated by the state. In a statement, Sandoval says that he is “concerned with these establishments popping up throughout the state with differing rules and regulatory structure.”

The question of who exactly has the authority to grant a license to cannabis lounges on the Vegas strip was also asked during a Clark County Commission meeting. There are no answers set in stone for this yet, as the seven commissioners have decided to hold off on making a decision before the other communities of Nevada do. When asked why, Commissioner James Gibson stated that it is because “they don’t have to be first, but they certainly have to be right.”

Denver Has Won the Battle, But Not the War

A city that is currently under a microscope and serving as an example for other states considering the switch to public weed usage is Denver. Denver has successfully made lounge regulations and other rules for smoking in social settings after being forced to in order for their 2016 marijuana initiative to pass.

Of course, there were some drawbacks. A state ban exists on the open and public consumption of pot. Therefore, the idea of consumption in restaurants, concert venues, and bars proved to be in the category of fantasy.

While this could be maneuvered around by defining “public space” in a manner that benefits marijuana users, state laws further prevent public usage. Colorado’s ban on marijuana ingestion at locations already holding a liquor license as well as the Indoor Air Act that prevents smoking in a majority of businesses excluding the utilization of vapes makes it almost impossible to find a loophole that allows public consumption. In addition, only dispensaries with licenses may sell marijuana-based products. However, the public cannot consume the products at the dispensary.

In July of 2017, Denver business owners began submitting applications allowing for social consumption of pot. None have been approved yet. A hurdle for businesses set on running a cannabis lounge will be creating business models where selling marijuana is not their sole source of income.

Another issue is that Denver’s zoning laws prevent the issuance of licenses to establishments that are within a 1,000-foot radius of places including educational facilities, rehabilitation centers, and community pools, making most of the city unsuitable for the creation of lounges.

Colorado now has legalized marijuana while simultaneously constructing a black market for it because of the lack of regulations. Molly Duplechian, deputy director of policy for the Denver Office of Marijuana Policy says that if rules were into action for social usage of marijuana, it would make “Denver’s life easier” especially since the issue will not just eradicate itself.

Where in Las Vegas to Legally Consume Cannabis

Restrictions on Where You May Legally Consume Marijuana in Las Vegas

Many people are celebrating the fact that Nevada has joined the ranks of US states where recreational marijuana use is legal. What some people may not know is that there are restrictions on where one is permitted to use cannabis. Consuming marijuana in an area where cannabis use is not permitted is against the law and can result in a hefty fine.

The recreational marijuana law in Nevada essentially prohibits one from consuming cannabis in a public setting. This means that marijuana must be enjoyed in a private residence. You are permitted to use cannabis in a private home or areas of the home such as a patio or balcony.

It is currently illegal for individuals to smoke marijuana in public areas. This includes the casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, bars and nightclubs, and on the street. Enjoying a toke in any or these areas means that you are in violation of the Nevada statues regarding cannabis consumption.

The penalties for breaking the law can be harsh. A fine of $600 is given to first-time offenders. Some people have tried to avoid the Las Vegas recreational marijuana dispensary law by using edibles or vape pens in public. This can still run you afoul of the law. Most would agree that the risk of being caught is simply not worth the potential fine.

Things may be changing, however. There are measures currently being debated by the state legislature which would provide accommodation for marijuana-friendly coffee shops and other establishments. It is also possible that provisions could be made in the near future for clubs to allow marijuana use.

In the meantime the only option is to smoke in a private residence. This is frustrating for many tourists who visit Las Vegas and other popular destinations in Nevada for the sole purpose of enjoying marijuana. Under the existing law one would need to know someone that owns a private residence in order to use cannabis.

The situation in Nevada reflects the growing pains of a nation that is trying to come to terms with marijuana use and Las Vegas gambling. The challenge for states that wish to make recreational marijuana legal has always been establishing reasonable parameters for cannabis use. States must also consider individuals who have no desire to use cannabis when crafting their pot laws.

It is also true that law enforcement in some jurisdictions like Colorado have taken a mild stance toward the prosecution of minor marijuana offenses. There is always a chance that Nevada officers could look the other way if you are spotted smoking in public, but many people find that this is a chance they are unwilling to take.

Pennsylvania Recreational Cannabis PA

Recently, local state representatives in Pennsylvania introduced a proposal that legalizes adult recreational cannabis use in the state. In reaction to this proposed legislation, state Representative Ryan Warner stated that he didn’t believe that now was the appropriate time to legalize more drugs. He also said that lawmakers needed to study further the use of recreational marijuana in states that already have legalized the drug.

Recreational cannabis use has been made legal in nine states. Also, the District of Columbia allows for legitimate use of the drug recreationally. A total of 31 US states, as well as the District of Columbia, have legalized the use of medical marijuana.

Representative Warner, R-Perryopolis, doesn’t believe that the state should legalize marijuana. But he and his cohort, Rep. Pam Snyder, D-Jeffers, as well as Rep. Matt Dowling, R-Uniontown, stated that they would consider a referendum or a direct vote by residents of the state concerning this subject.

Their comments came after Rep. Jake Wheatly, who is a Democrat from Pittsburg, proposed a bill that legalized possessing cannabis products and up to six cannabis plants. But not more than three cannabis plants could be in flower in this proposed bill. The bill didn’t take into consideration the topics of publically using marijuana or driving under the influence of pot. The bill was then given to the House Health Committee. Besides, Rep. Wheatly proposed releasing people incarcerated for marijuana-associated crimes.

A recent (2017) poll by Franklin and Marshall College discovered that over half of the voters of Pennsylvania support legalizing marijuana. This number is significantly more significant than the previous year’s poll. Democrats and independents strongly support legalizing marijuana, while only 44 percent of Republicans agree with its legislation, according to the survey. These numbers are of concern to marijuana legalization proponents, as the bill faces a considerable challenge in the General Assembly, which contains a Republican majority. Rep. Snyder believes that the focus of marijuana legislation should be kept on implementing medical marijuana laws instead of legalizing the plant material in general.

Cannabis remains classified a Schedule I drug as determined by the US Drug Enforcement Agency. Marijuana has been considered by the government to have a high potential for abuse as well as no accepted medical uses. Plus, most banks are required to refuse to allow individuals or companies to deposit money from marijuana sales since the substance is still considered an illegal chemical. A recent report from by the Washington Post reported that most legal marijuana businesses such as in Oregon and Colorado run primarily on cash transactions.

Rep. Dowling stated that he doesn’t know if marijuana leads to the use of stronger or increasingly addicting drugs. He also doesn’t know if legalizing marijuana would reduce dependence on opioids like heroin. He does believe that both premises need to be investigated further.

Rep. Bud Cook, who is a Republican from West Pike Run Township, said during a recent debate that he remains somewhere in the middle of the debate over legalizing marijuana because he has quite a few questions that need to be answered before he takes a side on the issue. He doesn’t’ have a problem with legalizing medical marijuana, however.

Justin Walsh, a Republican representative from Rostraver Township, couldn’t be reached for comment.

Pennsylvania State Act 16 of 2016 regulates medical marijuana under certain circumstances. If a person has contracted a terminal illness or one of the qualifying 21 conditions such as cancer, epilepsy or autism, they may be able to use marijuana legally to treat their disorder legally. Snyder and Warner supported this legislation. Dowling says he supports using marijuana medically but doesn’t know for sure what local impact may have occurred since marijuana’s medical use was legalized.

According to Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, the state is losing out on $581 million per year in revenue by not legalizing, regulating and taxing recreational marijuana use if the amount of taxation was set at 35 percent. Rep. Wheatly also stated that taxing marijuana could balance the state’s budget and improve the state’s schools, too. Rep.Snyder didn’t think that the increased tax dollars were enough of a reason to legalize recreational marijuana, however.

Rep. Dowling argued that it is financially irresponsible to relay on “sin taxes” to base the financing of a state government. By their nature, “sin taxes” on gambling, tobacco and other such vices are not a reliable source of state income because the amount gained fluctuates.

Rep. Wheatly argued that legalizing marijuana would save the taxpayers a lot of money in law enforcement costs. Law officers would also be freed up to deal with more serious crimes if recreation marijuana use was made legal.

Recreational Marijuana Trends and Facts

Recreational Marijuana Trends

Illegal Sales Are Diminishing

California’s decision to legalize recreational marijuana has led to widespread consumption of the plant. However, some areas of California are consuming marijuana more than others. There are also specific variants of the plant that Californians seem to prefer.

Southern California has spent more money on cannabis products than the rest of the state, and they’ve done so in a legal manner. The majority of the products purchased were flowers, but edibles have risen in popularity, too.

This surge in legal marijuana usage has helped California to get rid of cartel-based growers. The cartel has been using legal growing fields to produce marijuana that they can distribute to states that have not legalized the plant’s recreational use. With legal marijuana usage being the norm, law enforcement can more easily target illegal growers. For visual aids and more in-depth explanations, click here.

Tax Revenue

California brought in roughly 234.2 million dollars in revenue from the cannabis industry in 2018. The majority of this revenue came from the large number of cannabis consumers in Southern California. Most of the revenue was made by selling marijuana flowers and edibles infused with THC.

More than half of the revenue generated was from sales tax being placed on cannabis products. The revenue generated by cannabis sales is a major bonus for the state of California because it can be put towards programs that need the extra funding. If you’d like to view graphs depicting these statistics, you can click here.

Consumers Effect The Industry

As marijuana has become legal in more states, there has been a growing and evolving market surrounding the plant. Brands are realizing that new individuals are beginning to use cannabis products, and that has created the need for innovative products.

One study showed that brands are starting to aim lower potency and discreet products towards young women. This includes products such a THC vape liquid, low-potency edibles, and beauty products.

The new demographics becoming available to brands has led to brands having to innovate their approach in an attempt to distinguish themselves from other distributors. With new products being made regularly, the marijuana industry has began to rapidly evolve beyond it’s more simplistic roots. This is a good thing for marijuana enthusiasts. They’ll benefit from a growing number of options in the cannabis market.

Investors Can Profit

The cannabis industry has been experiencing the same buy-outs and corporate partnership deals as every other industry. Due to the cannabis industry being new and promising, reputable companies like Constellation Brands have taken interest in small cannabis brands.

With the cannabis industry becoming backed by large companies, stock investors can expect to see large amounts of growth in their investments. A lot of profitable opportunities have opened up due to the legalization of recreational cannabis, and more investment-savvy individuals can easily see large profits from investing in the industry.

Public Support Is Growing

As of 2018, 62% of Americans are supportive of marijuana legalization. That statistic shows a 1% growth in support since 2017, and that’s nearly double the amount of support since the year 2000.

As support for the legalization of recreation cannabis grows, more states are persuaded to legalize the plant themselves. At the moment, recreational use of marijuana products is legal in ten states, and that number is expected to grow in the years to come.

Teen Marijuana Use In States That Haven’t Legalized Marijuana

There’s a debate going on in Illinois that pertains to teens using marijuana illegally. The state has not legalized marijuana usage. They have decriminalized the possession of less than ten grams of the plant, though.

Law enforcement is stating that teenage marijuana use is climbing quickly, and marijuana usage is one of the leading drug issues with children in school. They have claiming that the spike in teenage marijuana use is due to the decriminalization law. However, the statistics from states that have legalized marijuana prove that to be false.

In states that have legalized marijuana, teenage use of the plant has dropped drastically. Fewer children are using cannabis products, and they’re waiting until they’re of legal age to experiment with it. This directly contradicts the claims of Illinois law enforcement, and it’s a solid sign that legalization lowers teen marijuana usage.

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