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Cannabis Consumption Lounges

A public place to consume cannabis has been relatively nonexistent, despite the plant being legal. Will east coast states legalize public consumption?

Jason SanderJason Sander · Oct. 15, 2021 · 4 min read
Cannabis Consumption Lounges

A public place to consume cannabis has been relatively nonexistent, despite the plant being legal in 19 states and counting. Nevada got the ball rolling on consumption lounges reform in 2021. Will the east coast be next?

If you buy a drink at a bar or pub, you’re legally allowed to consume it on the premises, as has been the case for centuries. Why is public cannabis consumption any different? If you purchase cannabis legally, should it not stand to reason that you should be able to ingest it in public? Thanks to state legislation out of Nevada and several other states, that ball is finally rolling in the right direction, enabling the public consumption of cannabis.

While the legal cannabis industry faces many challenges, overall legalization is a positive thing. Removing the stigma and age-old prohibition on the plant medicine will take time. One of the things that have taken a lot of time is allowing the public consumption of cannabis. Doing so was generally prohibited, up until recently.

Nevada Joins These Other States

Business owners and entrepreneurs in Michigan, Alaska, and Colorado are legally allowed to apply for a license to open a public cannabis consumption establishment. Along with a downturn in in-person food establishments like restaurants, public pro-cannabis spaces did as well. This includes lounges, bud-tasting places, and cafes that serve infused food.

One of the ways that a state like Nevada looks to recover from the pandemic is to establish cannabis consumption lounges. This could help revive the Nevada economy, specifically Las Vegas, which seeks to get back to their tourist numbers. Those pre-pandemic tourist figures in 2019 were 42.5 million visitors, which was way down in 2020.

Nevada Finally Legalizes Public Cannabis Consumption

In 2016, Nevada passed a bill that legalized the recreational consumption of cannabis. Two years later, that legislation went into law. However, years later, in 2021 public consumption of cannabis still faces restrictions.

Those restrictions should soon be a thing of the past, thanks to Assembly Bill 341. Nevada Assembly. Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) signed this bill into law over the summer of 2021. In so doing, the Governor made Nevada one of the first states that will allow the consumption of cannabis in public spaces.

Vegas to Set the Bar for Cannabis Tourism in 2022?

According to Bill 341, adults who are age 21 and older can consume cannabis publicly in Nevada. The Bill states that retail locations must add an additional area on the premises dedicated to consumption. New establishments must sell licensed cannabis products and dedicate their own consumption area. Lawmakers in most states with legal cannabis like the tax revenue that the industry brings. California, despite having a thriving illicit market, raked in over one billion dollars in its first years of recreational cannabis sales.


As far as we can see, the public consumption bill allows for vaping and consuming edibles, but not smoking cannabis. Canada and Amsterdam both have solid business models in place for years that U.S. states could emulate. Vegas adds extra glitz and shimmer to the public consumption space. This bill should help provide a boost to the state economy, provide jobs and help revive the hospitality industry.

If Vegas is successful in 2021 with the experiment of public cannabis consumption, states like Michigan and eventually Massachusetts could possibly follow suit. Allowing public cannabis consumption is a great way to increase the revenue of the tourism industry, which looks to bounce back in 2022 and beyond. We will be keeping a close eye on state voting next year, as it will be interesting to see which states decide to implement public consumption as Nevada and others have.

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Jason Sander
Jason SanderJason is a versatile writer and marketer with over ten combined years of experience working with clients in various industries. He couples this expertise with six years of writing for the cannabis sector as well as a passion for the business side, and the science behind the plant medicine.




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