Officials in Nevada have opened the door for the state to be first in the union to allow the use of recreational marijuana in clubs and lounges.
The state Legislative Counsel Bureau said on Monday that state law does not currently bar individuals from using cannabis at a private facility in Nevada, according to The Hill.
The Legislative Counsel Bureau said that cities and counties are also free to enact their own ordinances concerning special permits for businesses who choose to operate a space for recreational marijuana use.
State officials say there is no law barring marijuana use at a private facility in a landmark ruling made on Monday
The Legislative Counsel Bureau said cities and counties are also free to enact their own ordinances concerning recreational cannabis use
The ruling will not affect hotels and casinos, where all drugs use is strictly prohibited by law.
In the four states where recreational marijuana is legal for purchase -Washington, Colorado, Alaska and Oregon – none currently allow for the use of cannabis in public.
The same is true for three states – California, Massachusetts and Maine – who passed similar recreational marijuana laws last year and are preparing to introduce the new industry into the market.
State Sen. Tick Segerblom (D), who spearheaded the legislative initiative, said that becoming the country’s first state to allow the public use of recreational marijuana will help attract visitors and provide a much needed boost to the economy.
‘We’re going to really market this thing around the world,’ Segerblom told The Hill in a recent interview.
Nevada lawmakers say the initiative will help bolster the economy and tourism, and plan to market themselves as the only state in the union that allows the use of marijuana pubicly
Advocates for pot legalizing also praised the LCB’s decision, saying it affirms the personal rights of individuals while bolstering the tourism industry.
‘Allowing regulated social use areas is a good solution that recognizes cannabis consumers’ rights to congregate just like alcohol drinkers can in bars while also protecting nonconsumers’ rights not to inhale secondhand smoke,’ said the founder of Marijuana Majority, a pro-legalization group, Tom Angell.
‘It should be a no brainer, especially in tourist towns like Las Vegas where visitors don’t have private residences they can go back to to imbibe.’
But not everyone was so enthusiastic about the recent decision by the LCB, with some concerned that the marijuana industry brings along with it an unsavory element.
‘Data show that areas around marijuana stores have higher crime and issues with second-hand smoke and other nuisances. I can’t imagine pot clubs will be a good thing for the state,’ said Kevin Sabet, who heads the anti-legalization group Smart Approaches to Marijuana.
Nevada became the fifth state to legalize recreational pot on July 1, eight months after voters in Nevada approved a ballot measure.
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval (R) opposes the new marijuana initiative, but said that he will abide by the will of the electorate and work with the Justice Department to allow legal marijuana now that it has passed.