Las Vegas City Council Approves Cannabis Consumption Lounges

The Las Vegas strip is about to get even more lit.

Members of the city council cleared the way for the opening of cannabis consumption lounges, voting 5-1 on Wednesday against a motion that would have had Las Vegas opt out of allowing those businesses, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The vote came after the Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board in June gave its final sign off on the establishments.

The board laid out procedures for would-be lounge owners at the time.

“In addition to outlining the licensing and operation of consumption lounges, regulations approved today lay the groundwork for greater inclusion within Nevada’s cannabis industry,” the board said in a June release. “All applicants must submit a diversity plan, summarizing actionable steps and goals for meaningful inclusion. Additionally, half of the independent consumption lounge licenses in the initial round must be awarded to social equity applicants.”

“Prior to an open licensing period, the [Cannabis Compliance Board] plans to roll out tools and resources including worksheets, video tutorials and live webinars in order to ensure interested parties have access to the same information and are able to successfully submit an application,” the release continued. “The CCB expects to open the first licensing round for consumption lounges in the Fall, allowing for the first consumption lounges to open as early as the end of the year.”

That final regulatory approval came nearly a year after Nevada state lawmakers approved funding for the Cannabis Compliance Board, which has been charged with overseeing the consumption lounges in the state.

Cities in Nevada could opt out of allowing the consumption lounges in their jurisdictions. According to the Review-Journal, by “not responding to a letter from the Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board earlier this month, the city automatically opted in to the licensing process, but still had an opportunity Wednesday to change course.”

Councilwoman Victoria Seaman filed the motion to opt out, but it was voted down 5-1 on Monday.

Seaman said constituents had told her that “they would rather not have them in the residential areas and have them more in the tourist areas, so, I’m not going to be supporting this,” as quoted by the Review-Journal.

But others view the lounges as yet another boon for Las Vegas’ vibrant tourism industry. It will also provide refuge for the thousands of out-of-towners who descend upon the city each week. As local news station KSNV put it, the state’s “current law leaves many from out of town consuming the drug illegally, either on the streets or a hotel room,” but the cannabis lounges will change that.

According to the Review-Journal, the lounges “will allow marijuana customers to smoke the drug legally for the first time outside of private homes since voters legalized recreational use in 2016.”

“I think it’s important for the city to consider the business opportunity that consumption lounges will bring, and also some relief of issues we’re currently hearing about a lot because we’re not offering a place for folks to actually consume when they buy,” Councilwoman Olivia Diaz told the Review-Journal after the vote on Wednesday. “We have still some way to go and some more work to do.”

The newspaper reported that there will be 20 licenses awarded throughout the state for cannabis consumption lounges, half of which will be given to social equity applicants, individuals from communities that have been disproportionately affected by the War on Drugs.

The Cannabis Compliance Board announced earlier this month that the application period for prospective cannabis consumption lounge owners will open on October 14 and conclude on October 22.

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Nevada Cannabis Lounges Announced

Nevada cannabis lounges are coming. Cannabis lounges bring legalization to a new level by allowing consenting adults to openly use cannabis socially. Nevada’s Cannabis Compliance Board announced the news in late June. A statement reads: “Today, the Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board (CCB) voted unanimously to approve regulations surrounding the licensing and operation of cannabis consumption […]

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Nevada Regulators Give Final Approval for Cannabis Lounges

Regulators in Nevada on Tuesday gave the final sign-off to cannabis consumption lounges, paving the way for the establishments to perhaps open up by year’s end.

The state’s Cannabis Compliance Board voted on a slate of regulations for the lounges, a crucial regulatory hurdle in a process that has been nearly a year in the making.

According to local news station KLAS, some of the regulations approved by the board on Tuesday “included safety protocols at lounges, training requirements for staff, and location requirements for the lounges,” such as “certain distances from locations such as schools and community facilities.”

It was last August when Nevada lawmakers approved funding that had been requested by the Cannabis Compliance Board to hire staff and provide other support in the regulation of the lounges.

The Nevada Independent reported at the time that a legislative committee “unanimously approved three items that will provide the [Cannabis Compliance Board] with funds to hire more staff, work with the state attorney general’s office to hammer out regulations, and direct cannabis revenue toward education funding.”

Tyler Klimas, the executive director of the Cannabis Compliance Board, told the legislative committee at the time that the additional funding helped put the state on track to have the lounges open “at least the first quarter, or the first half of 2022.”

“Not only to see the lounges open, but then also the first part is where we would start to realize that revenue,” he said at the time.

Tuesday’s vote apparently keeps that timetable in place, with the Las Vegas Sun reporting that the board said the “first state-sanctioned cannabis consumption lounges could potentially open before the end of the year.”

It has been a long time coming for the Cannabis Compliance Board, which noted in a press release on Tuesday that it held 15 public meetings to go over potential regulations for the consumption lounges.

The board also provided details for prospective lounge owners.

“In addition to outlining the licensing and operation of consumption lounges, regulations approved today lay the groundwork for greater inclusion within Nevada’s cannabis industry,” the board said in the press release. “All applicants must submit a diversity plan, summarizing actionable steps and goals for meaningful inclusion. Additionally, half of the independent consumption lounge licenses in the initial round must be awarded to social equity applicants.”

“Prior to an open licensing period, the [Cannabis Compliance Board] plans to roll out tools and resources including worksheets, video tutorials and live webinars in order to ensure interested parties have access to the same information and are able to successfully submit an application,” the release continued. “The CCB expects to open the first licensing round for consumption lounges in the Fall, allowing for the first consumption lounges to open as early as the end of the year.”

Local news outlet KLAS reported that the Cannabis Compliance Board expects “40 to 45 applications for lounges attached to retail shops and 20 independent shops, 10 of which will go to social equity applicants.”

“What we are looking for is the impacts of drug policy on individuals and members of the community. We are looking at poverty level, we are looking at any past convictions of cannabis,” Klimas said, as quoted by KLAS.

Nevada legalized recreational cannabis use for adults back in 2017, but consumption has been confined to the private homes of individuals. That, of course, hasn’t stopped people from toking up in public. As The Street said, “while it is not technically legal to light up a joint while walking the Strip…the aroma in the air suggests that it’s happening quite regularly.”

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Cannabis Consumption Friendly Hotel Coming to Las Vegas

At long last, it’s finally happening. Smoking weed on vacation without fear is finally becoming a thing and it’s coming to Las Vegas! Thanks to a recent change in legislation, businesses can now apply for a commercial cannabis consumption lounge license. After hearing this news, Pro Hospitality Group jumped into action and bought property on […]

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Cannabis Consumption Lounge To Open in Michigan in First-Ever Move

According to a press release, a new business called Hot Box Social announced that it is the first licensed adult-use consumption lounge to open doors in Michigan. Michigan is now the seventh state in the U.S. to allow consumption lounges, but the way the businesses are regulated varies.

While Liberty Ann Arbor set out to be the first consumption lounge in Michigan, a representative from the dispensary told High Times that the licensing process has been in the works, but the lounge is not yet open. Vehicle City Social is another similar business, but is open to patients and caregivers only.

The consumption lounge will open in Detroit, Michigan’s Hazel Park neighborhood, between 9 Mile and 10 Mile roads. Hot Box Social is owned by Troy, Michigan-based Trucenta, which also operates the award-winning Breeze adult-use provisioning center in Hazel Park as well.

Cannabis products consumed at Hot Box Social, however, are required to be delivered by a licensed provisioning center (dispensary.) But the lounge will provide advisors on-site to help guide guests during consumption. 

Hot Box Social will open later this month for private events. The venue is located at 23610 John R in Main Street Hazel Park. The team behind Hot Box Social plans to create a relaxed gathering space for meetings and special events where cannabis can be consumed in a safe and supportive environment.

“It’s an exciting time,” Nowfal Akash, Trucenta Chief Information Officer, told High Times. “When it comes to marijuana, you can either take a wait-and-see approach or you can lead, and Trucenta and Hot Box Social are happy to be number one as the state’s first licensed consumption lounge. We’re beginning with private and ticketed events and will open to the general public later this Summer.”

For now, capacity is limited to approximately 200 people for private indoor events. The 3,000 square feet indoor lounge will be open to private events first, and to the public later this year. The team plans to open a 5,000 square feet back patio later in the summer as well.

“We are honored that Michigan has awarded us the state’s first license for a consumption lounge,” Akash said in a statement. “Our plan is to first use the space for corporate, social and special events. Come summer, we’ll start scheduling events so the public can experience Hot Box Social with consumption-friendly activities like social gatherings, educational opportunities, and arts-focused activities.” 

Michigan’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency began accepting applications for all adult-use licenses, including for consumption spaces, on November 1, 2019. A few other businesses are trying to do the same. Liberty Ann Arbor cannabis provisioning center in Ann Arbor also set out to become the first consumption lounge in Michigan after gaining one of the first licenses. Ann Arbor, for instance, plans on issuing 28 licenses for that type of business model. Detroit listed 35 available licenses for consumption establishments last year.

The lounge has been two years in the making, complete with sliding glass doors that can air out a smokey room quickly, Detroit News reports. This beautiful, yet functional design could allow for enough light but also allow for a venue that can air out easily.

“Our hope is that Hot Box Social will be used to bring a new experience for companies hosting brainstorming meetings, friends who are gathering for private parties, and one-of-a-kind fundraisers to raise money for nonprofit organizations,” Akash added.

The amount of doses that patrons can receive will start out small, almost a microdose, but probably grow to a larger initial dose.

“The FDA has a certain recommendation about 5mg as an initial dose. We want to cut that in half and probably float around the 2-2.5mg range for a first-timer just to be safe,” Akash said, according to a WXYZ Detroit report.

Currently, the team behind Hot Box Social doesn’t know if they will be charging patrons for the space usage, but for now, they will be opening up a kitchen that will offer food.

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8 Things to Know Before You Eat at America’s 1st Cannabis Cafe

The first cannabis cafe in the U.S. is finally opening and it’s a big deal. To the team behind the cafe, this is considered a major win for cannabis legalization and the normalization of weed as it’s the first legal consumption lounge in the United States. Diners will be served cannabis by a flower host, and will be able to consume it indoors.

Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Cafe in West Hollywood, California, is set to open Oct. 1, 2019. The cafe is located at 1201 North La Brea Avenue in West Hollywood, in California. A Lowell representative told Weedmaps News that initial opening hours are from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week, with plans to extend hours eventually to open at 8 a.m. and close at 2 a.m.

The floorplan is spread out over a single-story “campus” with a total of 20,000 square feet (the restaurant is comprised of 6,000 square feet). It is not set on a rooftop, but is part-indoors, part-outdoors with patios.

The campus is separated into four parts: the Lounge, the Garden, the Cafe, and the Lot. All four spaces allow diners to indulge in food, non-alcoholic beverages, beer, and wine. The Cafe is technically the only space you can’t consume cannabis; the Garden, Lot (meant for parking and additional event space) and the Lounge all allow weed smoking, vaping, and edibles.

Illustration courtesy of Lowell Herb Co.
While Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Cafe will not allow weed consumption in the cafe, toking is welcomed in the Lounge, Garden, and Lot areas of the West Hollywood, California, cannabis restaurant, set to open Oct. 1, 2019.

The parent company, Hacienda, said it has worked towards this moment for three years. Lowell Herb Co., a California-based cannabis company, wanted to open the cafe in order to create a unique cannabis consumption experience. Executive Chef Andrea Drummer and Head of Restaurant Kevin Brady are at the helm. 

“For us, this is the real end of prohibition,” David Elias, co-founder and CEO of Lowell Herb Co. parent company Hacienda, told Variety. Hacienda was one of 300 companies that applied to West Hollywood for the onsite consumption permit. Of them, only 16 licenses were awarded; eight licensees will offer smoking and vaporizing cannabis onsite, while eight will offer cannabis-infused food.

Diners must purchase weed at the cafe for consumption, and it needs to be consumed onsite. People can also drink wine and beer, or even drink a decadent “mocktail” that doesn’t contain alcohol nor cannabis

Here are eight things you can expect when dining at the U.S.’s first cannabis cafe:

1). You Have to be at Least 21 for Smoking Areas.

“The restaurant is for everyone,” Lowell Farms representative Libby Dolan said. The Cafe section is all ages, while the Garden, Lot, and the Lounge allow cannabis consumption and are for adults 21-and-up. “We have the non-smoking patio that will be open to all ages and is where the beer and wine will be. To enter the smoking areas, you have to be 21 and up,” Dolan said. The weed consumption areas will welcome diners when they present their government-issued ID.

2). Reservations are a Good Idea. 

Reservations are now open and they have been filling up fast, Lowell representatives explained. Walk-ins are accommodated, though. Diners who walk in may have to wait a few hours for one of the coveted bar seats or the few tables that are not reserved. Turnover should be quick and prompt, though, as Lowell told its diners that the tables are reserved for 1 1/2 hours per party. No sitters! Pictures are welcome and encouraged, but pets are not. 

3). Cash is Required for Cannabis Purchases.

Diners must pay cash for their cannabis purchases from the flower host. There is an ATM on site, so don’t fret. The flower host will request cash payment for your cannabis purchases and that weed bill can run alongside the food bill, separate from your dining bill. Credit and debit cards will be accepted for food and drink purchases.

Photo courtesy of Lowell Herb Co.
Lowell: A Cannabis Cafe’s “Fountain of Youth” mocktail is made with rosewater and an edible rose petal. Lowell: A Cannabis Cafe, the U.S.’s first cannabis consumption restaurant and cafe, is set to open Oct. 1, 2019, in West Hollywood.

4). Weed, Concentrates, and Edibles Are for Sale.

Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Cafe will sell cannabis flower in prerolled joints and buds, vapes, pre-packaged edibles, concentrates, and extracts. Dabs will be on deck alongside Lowell cold-pressed cannabis vapes, Lowell prerolls, and Lowell flower. Brand partnerships will soon be announced. Expect concentrate brands, edible brands, and other offerings within the licensed, legal cannabis market of California. 

5). Air is Filtered by Plants and ‘Casino-Grade’ System.

There is smoking, vaping, and consumption allowed indoors, in the Lounge, as well as in the Garden. How does this pass health code for restaurants? Using a powerful air purification system, Lowell co-founder Sean Black told the Los Angeles Times, plus a ton of air-filtering plants. The company also said to expect two “gorgeous 60-year-old Italian olive trees” on the Garden exterior patio, as well as rosemary, honeysuckle, jasmine and wisteria.

Photo courtesy of Lowell Herb Co.
A “Prohibition is almost over” billboard, with the Lowell Farms goat logo, decorates Lowell’s first cannabis consumption cafe in West Hollywood, California. It is scheduled to open Oct. 1, 2019.

6). Dabbing is on the Menu.

Yes, you can dab inside the Lowell Cannabis Cafe. The cafe is using one of the safest ways for dabbing, a high-tech device called the Puffco Peak. It doesn’t use butane and is a popular electronic smart rig, a nice improvement on the handheld vape with all the convenience and none of the fuel. Normalization of dabbing? Coming right up.

(Photo courtesy of Lowell Herb Co.)
The “Sweet Fli(high)t” dessert tray from Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Cafe menu includes Millionaire’s Bacon, caramel popcorn with Thai chili almonds, peanut butter cookies, milk and cereal ice cream sandwich, sweet potato beignets, matcha and black sesame cake, creme brulee, and s’mores.

7). Chef Drummer Created the Non-Infused Food Menu.

Drummer, an acclaimed cannabis chef, designed the cafe’s menu to be “complementary to heightened senses from cannabis,” according to a press bio. Dishes on the inaugural menu cost between $10 and $30. Drummer plans to utilize local farmers markets and fresh produce to a seasonally-changing menu, and believes that the balancing of terpenes and flavor is what makes the dining experience unique. Items include grilled yellow peaches with burrata, hummus, and the “Sweet Fli(high)t” dessert tray of stoner treats including caramel popcorn, cookies, ice cream sandwiches, beignets, s’mores, and creme brulee. In addition to the menu, the website’s FAQs section says that diners can purchase “limited batch, pre-packaged, lab tested cannabis infused items.”

8). You Can BYOB, Bring Your Own Bud, with a ‘Tokeage’ Fee

Lowell Cafe’s website says there will be a “bring your own bud” policy with a $20 “tokeage fee.” For the cafe’s opening run, it will only be open until 10 p.m., but Lowell’s representative explained that it plans to extend hours to 2 a.m. in the near future. The local regulations say dispensaries can’t sell weed past 10 p.m. so 9:50 p.m. will be “last call” for cannabis. The BYOB policy will extend to the later hours.

Feature Image: Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Cafe has announced Oct. 1, 2019, as the opening day of the West Hollywood, California, restaurant offering marijuana-infused cuisine. It would be the first onsite cannabis-consumption restaurant in the U.S. (Photo courtesy of Lowell Herb Co.)

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