Luck of the draw for Nevada cannabis lounge licenses announced in lottery drawing

A big day for the cannabis industry in the state, digital drawings determined who will receive a cannabis consumption lounge license.
Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 10:40 PM PST
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - A big day for the cannabis industry in the state, digital drawings determined who will receive a cannabis consumption lounge license.

On Thursday the Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board held two digital drawings to issue independent cannabis consumption lounge licenses. They will be legal and regulated places people can consume cannabis products.

During the application window held in October, the CCB received a total of 99 complete and paid applications for lounge licenses.

During Thursday’s drawings and per state law, a total of 20 were selected.

10 were selected as so-called non-social equity applicants, the legislature mandated 10 be selected as social equity applicants.

Executive Director for the CCB said today is a culmination of 16 months of work by staff, stakeholders and members of the public.

“This is the first time that we’ve issued new cannabis licenses since 2018 so really on the licensee side this is the first time we’re able to bring new entrance into the industry right so we’re hoping especially with the social equity applicants we’re going to be able to diversify the industry and little at least bring in people who haven’t been in the industry and I think that’s a significant step for us,” Klimas said.

To qualify to be a social equity applicant you must meet strict criteria including having a cannabis-related offense.

Rachel Lee, who owns Sunflower Compassionate Company, was one of the 10 selected as a social equity applicant.

“I screamed and I thanked god because it’s been a long, long journey before even me starting a business,” Lee said.

In 1994 Lee said she was falsely arrested and accused of being a drug trafficker when she was 19 years old. She hopes she can use her cannabis lounge license for health benefits.

“The reason why I felt that it would be a great idea was that I can get involved in more research with Alzheimer’s disease in hopes to see how hemp and cannabidiol, which is CBD could possibly help,” Klimas said.

The CCB announced the list of licensees on its website.

Another 20 licenses were awarded to retail cannabis consumption lounges totaling 40 in the state.

The applicants awarded a license must pass a suitability check with the board.

Klimas expects the soonest we could see a lounge open will be the spring.

“It’s going to be a new offering. It’ll set Nevada apart from some of the other states. I think Las Vegas is a tourism destination I think that’ll lean in or help us lean in into the consumption lounge concept a little bit and certainly as a state if we can generate a little more tax revenue for the state with lounges that will be a positive as well,” Klimas said.