The City Council of Las Vegas has taken small steps to join a handful of other cities across the western United States to license and regulate consumption of marijuana and marijuana products outside of private residences. On June 27th, 2018 the City Council hosted a Social Use Workshop to discuss drafted changes to the City Municipal Code. While there is a long way to go before social use venues come to fruition, the proposed changes are good news for the Las Vegas marijuana community.

Regulations and Restrictions for Social Use Venues

Currently, only consumption in private residences is allowed, however, these proposed ordinances would allow businesses to apply for a privileged business license from the City of Las Vegas to allow consumption on the business premises. A social use venue would come with many regulations and restrictions. Most notably, consumption would be restricted to indoors only and could not be visible to the general public from outside the establishment. Other restrictions to social use venues during business hours would prohibit: allowing anyone under the age of twenty-one to be employed by the establishment, allowing anyone under the age of twenty-one inside of the establishment, selling or providing any marijuana or marijuana products on the premises, allowing the use of any paraphernalia or equipment that does not comply with the fire safety plan, or storing marijuana or marijuana products on the premises.

Potential Business Combinations with Social Use

A decision by the City Council to license social use as a privileged business license opens the possibility to different combinations of businesses and social use. For example, the drafted ordinance would allow the sale and service of alcohol with under eleven percent alcohol content if the establishment is approved for a beer and wine room license as well. Social use venues could also sell, provide or distribute marijuana paraphernalia, with sales being subject to a general retail license.

Documents Required when Applying for a Social Use License

Due to the nature of applying for a privileged business license, applicants for a social use venue would need to submit additional documentation to the City when applying. Some of these additional documents include: written statements acknowledging all applicable laws and the penalties for violating these laws, a written statement to the Director releasing liability of the City to issuing a license to the establishment, acknowledgement that the issuance of a privileged license is at the discretion of the City Council, a security plan designed to ensure compliance with the ordinance, a fire safety plan designed to ensure the safety of employees, patrons and the public.

Additional Responsibilities for Marijuana Social Use Establishments

As some current members of the marijuana industry in Las Vegas and surrounding areas are aware, the operation of a marijuana establishment comes at a price and with unique requirements. Obtaining a social use venue license would be no different. While currently the number of social use venue permits is not restricted, the available locations, fees and application process may restrict some businesses from obtaining permits. Currently, the annual fee for a social use venue is set at $5,000. Similar to current marijuana establishments, a social use venue would not be allowed within 1,000 feet of any school, or within 300 feet of any of the following: city park, church/house of worship, individual care family/group home, individual care center, community recreational facility (public), or any facility whose primary function is to provide recreational opportunities to minors. Social use venues would also be responsible for: complying with odor control and disposal requirements in the Las Vegas Municipal Code, following the approved fire and security plans, maintaining and conducting all activities, in addition to providing security and security measures, upon the premises, providing a twenty-four-hour surveillance system to monitor the interior and exterior of the premises (with a live feed which must be accessible to authorized law enforcement at all times and in real-time), not knowingly allowing the violation of any applicable laws or regulations, and the venue must ensure that at least one qualified person is on the premises at all times during the hours of operation.

Furthermore, because the privileged business licenses may be paired with other business licenses, the parking requirement will be that of the principal use of the site. If, however, it were to be a sole social use business, then it would be necessary to require one parking space for each 250 square feet of gross floor area. Additionally, pursuant to the City of Las Vegas Municipal Code 6.86, each employee of a social use venue must first obtain and maintain a valid work card.

It is important to remember that this is a draft and there will be revisions prior to a vote by the City Council. This is a great leap forward for the City of Las Vegas and the marijuana industry in the Las Vegas Valley.

What’s the First Step in Applying for a “Marijuana Consumption Lounge”?

If you’re interested in applying for a consumption lounge, Connor and Connor can help you identify what the first steps might be. We have years of experience helping people start businesses, specifically in the marijuana industry. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.