Businesses push for patios at cannabis lounges, Clark County leaders voice concerns

Marijuana industry leaders across Las Vegas are pushing for patios at tourist-friendly cannabis lounges.
Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 10:21 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - Marijuana industry leaders across Las Vegas are pushing for patios at tourist-friendly cannabis lounges, while some Clark County leaders voice concerns about smell and odor impacting communities.

The Cannabis Compliance Board gave the green light to businesses to open patios in the future, as long as the setup complies with local guidelines.

Businesses such as Thrive, which just opened a dispensary off Sammy Davis, Jr. Drive near the Strip, hoping to capture the tourism market and offer cannabis indoors and on a patio.

“We’re excited about developing a high-end restaurant concept that will allow for patrons to not only smoke their cannabis but enjoy cannabis in other forms,” said Christopher LaPorte of Reset Vegas. “We see the need for cannabis tourists to have a place to smoke and to enjoy cannabis,” he said.

The push for patios is driven not only by customer demand but also desire for ventilation. “Indoor air quality advocates also supported the opportunity to have outdoor areas because, number one, it helps us as operators to mitigate not only the odor but air quality,” LaPorte said.

Clark County leaders are working to create policies for future lounges, and some on the Clark County Commission have concerns over allowing patios.

“I worry about people that don’t want to be around it,” said Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick at the August 16 commission meeting, whose office gets numerous complaints over marijuana smells caused by tourists on the Strip.

“There’s no way they’re going to keep [the odor] on the premises... I worry about the transmission of the odor at a strip mall. Say, you sell clothing,” Chair Jim Gibson said, having already investigated various complaints from other cannabis establishments.

There are concerns about granting permits for patios and then tackling the red tape to “roll back”; according to county officials, once a business is granted a patio, it would take a legal fight to change it.

Layke Martin of the Nevada Dispensary Association is working to inform decision-makers on the current technology available for smoke and odor.

“There are technologies available and inside,” Martin said, noting that many of these lounges will be in industrial areas away from neighborhoods.

Dispensaries and county officials are eager to open up lounges, to quell a constant concern: the smell of marijuana in and around Strip resorts and casinos.

“If you have a lounge that looks like and feels like an airport smoking lounge, it’s not necessarily going to be an attraction for someone who could otherwise just be outside and smoke on the Strip,” Martin said.

County officials said neighbors will be notified of any potential lounge that could open in their neighborhood.

Officials tabled the August 16 discussion for 30 days, and businesses are meeting with county leaders to discuss their concerns.

The Cannabis Compliance Board also launched a guide on how to apply for a license for a lounge. The guide includes checklists and video tutorials. It is available on the Cannabis Compliance Board website.