Proposed Las Vegas ordinance targets ‘fake dispensaries’

Published: Jun. 19, 2023 at 10:37 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - A proposed rule in the City of Las Vegas could crack down on what the cannabis industry calls “fake dispensaries,” targeting stores that appear to sell cannabis but are not licensed to do so.

Across the Las Vegas Valley and in tourist hotspots, stores may have words such as “cannabis” outside, or list products on shelves with words like “CBD” or “THC,” even though the store is not actually a licensed dispensary.

“They’re scamming tourists,” said Layke Martin of the Nevada Dispensary Association. “They are making [it] look like cannabis product, but doesn’t have enough THC to be cannabis,” Martin said.

Tourists unknowingly pay dispensary prices for unregulated or untested products, Martin said.

The proposed ordinance would require stores to display signage at the entrance a foot high, stating, “this location is not licensed to sell cannabis.” Other inside signage would require the actual THC levels of various products, which by law, must be below the legal limit allowed within licensed dispensaries, Martin said.

Unregulated products outside dispensaries also come with their own health risks. FOX5 told you earlier this year, regulators warned the public to only buy CBD oil and products from licensed dispensaries: unregulated CBD sold in local stores could have compounds that can make you high, sick, or cause unknown side effects.

“When you have the unknown byproducts that comes with unknown risk. When you buy those products online, or if there’s no laboratory that’s tested the products, you really don’t know what you’re getting,” said Kara Cronkhite, the CCB’s chief of inspections and audit.

The Cannabis Compliance Board only has direct oversight of CBD products within dispensaries, and they require a Certificate of Analysis to show THC levels in the products.

“We do get a lot of reports from the public stating that they consumed something that had synthetic cannabinoids in them, and it made them feel very ill,” Cronkhite said. “We don’t regulate any of those CBD shops or the products that you might find at a gas station or a strip mall. A lot of times they really want to be compliant, but they don’t even know that what they have in their store is illegal in Nevada,” she said.

The Las Vegas City Council will review the ordinance on Wednesday.