License to Chill: New Joints for Public Cannabis Consumption Coming to Nevada
Nevada’s Cannabis Compliance Board (“CCB”) approved regulations on June 28, 2022, permitting on-site cannabis consumption lounges to begin operating as early as the end of 2022. These new regulations, which were required to be adopted after the Nevada Legislature passed Assembly Bill 341 (2021), regulate cannabis consumption lounges under one of two distinct licenses. Retail cannabis consumption lounge licenses will allow existing adult-use dispensaries to add a lounge to–or adjacent to–their existing retail spaces. Independent cannabis consumption lounge licenses are intended for standalone cannabis lounges not connected with an existing retail establishment. Both consumption lounge licenses fall under the definition of “adult-use cannabis establishment” under NRS 678A.035, which requires consumption lounge operators to first obtain an adult-use establishment license.
The new consumption lounge licenses will permit up to 65 new cannabis lounges. Between 40-45 of these licenses will go to existing retail cannabis consumption lounge applicants, while the remaining 20 licenses are earmarked for free-standing cannabis lounges. Of the 20 licenses set aside for standalone lounges, 10 of those licenses–with significantly reduced fees–are reserved for “social equity” applicants. Formal notice regarding applications is expected to be released 30 days in advance of the application period, including tools and webinars to aid potential applicants, followed by a 10-day application period.
Once the licenses are issued, consumption lounges must follow substantial safety and security measures intended to protect consumers and employees. Among those requirements are measures such as serving-size limits, robust packaging, labeling, storage, and handling requirements for all cannabis products, employee training and consumer education protocols, ventilation and smoke/vapor containment requirements, a prohibition on alcohol, tobacco, nicotine products, and firearms at any consumption lounge, and measures to prevent impaired driving to and from consumption lounges. Additional security requirements include the use of exterior lighting and surveillance, electronic (recorded) monitoring of the premises, a prohibition on lounge patrons from leaving the premises with any unused cannabis products, and protocols to ensure that lounges are accessible to law enforcement in the event of a medical emergency or other incident. These regulations are intended to protect consumers and to provide added measures of safety that are necessary with on-site retail consumption.
Existing and prospective licensees should not wait for the notice period to begin preparing for the brief application period. The CCB’s comprehensive regulations require significant business planning. If you have any questions regarding compliance or the CCB licensing process, please contact Jessica Lujan, Esq. at firstname.lastname@example.org or David L. Edelblute, Esq. at email@example.com.