Well, why not? There are wine bars, whiskey bars, and cigar bars. Folks take vacations visiting the wine-producing regions of France and Napa County, or visiting the distilleries of Ireland, Scotland, and Kentucky.
Why wouldn’t cannabis lounges be the next big thing for entrepreneurs? In states like Nevada and New York, there’s a real “if we build it the tourists will come” vibe. Just as the summer travel season kicks off, at the tail end of pandemic isolation no less, states and countries that allow recreational marijuana use are vying to be the next hotbed for cannabis tourism.
Nevada Goes First
In Nevada, Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) recently signed a bill allowing consumption lounges in the state, both retail operations that could add a lounge and independent lounges that sell licensed products, though only for adults 21 and older.
It’s an especially big win for Las Vegas, trying to quickly regain the pre-pandemic tourism numbers, a whopping 42.5 million visitors in 2019. Las Vegas already has two of the largest dispensaries in the world, a cannabis museum in the wings, and at least one current consumption lounge owned by the Las Vegas Paiute tribe (able to open because it’s on sovereign land).
Up until now, you could only legally consume cannabis in a private residence in Nevada (although it’s likely visitors have smoked, eaten, and consumed in their hotel or rental). Like everywhere around the country, the state is rolling in tax revenue from cannabis sales. Adding consumption lounges with a bit of that Las Vegas shimmer creates a lot of potential.
“Consumption lounges will finally provide a lawful place for both tourists and locals to safely consume cannabis,” Assemblyman Steve Yeager (D), who sponsored the state legislation, told Marijuana Moment. “Lounges will help grow Nevada’s small business economy and create hundreds of jobs. In addition, consumption lounges will further solidify Las Vegas’ status as the entertainment capital of the world as well as the destination for cannabis tourism.”
New York Not to Be Outdone
California, Illinois, Alaska, Michigan, and Colorado all have approved and opened cafes and lounges where you can smoke a joint, nosh on a THC-infused salad, or sip CBD cocktails. With states like New York not just legalizing recreational weed but including cannabis club licenses in its recently passed legislation, there’s an increase in opportunity to attract the traveling public itching for new experiences.
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