Companies push for patios at cannabis lounges, Clark County leaders voice concerns

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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – Marijuana industry leaders across Las Vegas are pushing for patios at tourist-friendly cannabis lounges, as some Clark County executives raise concerns about the impact of smells and odors on communities.

The Cannabis Compliance Board has given businesses the green light to open patios in the future, as long as the setup complies with local guidelines.

Companies such as Thrive, which just opened a dispensary near Sammy Davis, Jr. Drive near the Strip, hoping to tap into the tourist market and offer cannabis indoors and on a patio.

“We are excited to develop an upscale restaurant concept that will allow customers to not only smoke their cannabis, but also enjoy cannabis in other forms,” said Christopher LaPorte of Reset Vegas. “We see the need for cannabis tourists to have a place to smoke and enjoy cannabis,” he said.

The push for patios is driven not only by customer demand, but also by the desire for ventilation. “Indoor air quality advocates have also supported the possibility of having outdoor spaces because, firstly, it helps us as operators to not only mitigate the smell but also the air quality” , said LaPorte.

Clark County leaders are working to create policies for future living rooms, and some members of the Clark County Commission are concerned about allowing patios.

“I’m worried about people who don’t want to be there,” Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick said at the Aug. 16 meeting of the commission, whose office receives numerous complaints about marijuana smells caused by tourists on the Strip.

“There’s no way they keep [the odor] on the premises… I am concerned about the transmission of odor in a strip mall. Say, you sell clothes,” Chairman Jim Gibson said, after previously investigating various complaints from other cannabis establishments.

There are concerns about permitting patios and then cutting red tape to ‘roll back’; according to county officials, once a business is granted a patio, it would take a legal battle to change it.

Layke Martin of the Nevada Dispensary Association works to educate decision makers on the current technology available for smoke and odors.

“There are technologies available and inside,” Martin said, noting that many of these salons will be in industrial areas away from neighborhoods.

Dispensaries and county officials are eager to open lounges, to allay an ongoing concern: the smell of marijuana in and around the Strip’s resorts and casinos.

“If you have a lounge that looks and feels like an airport smoking lounge, it’s not necessarily going to be an attraction for someone who might otherwise be just outside and smoking on the Strip,” Martin said.

County officials said neighbors would be notified of any potential salons that might open in their neighborhood.

Officials tabled the Aug. 16 discussion for 30 days, and the companies are meeting with county leaders to discuss their concerns.

The Cannabis Compliance Board has also launched a guide on how to apply for a salon license. The guide includes checklists and video tutorials. It is available on the Cannabis Compliance Board website.

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