Last November, Nevada, along with California, Maine and Massachusetts, voted to join Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon in legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Now Nevada plans to step it up a notch by being the first state to openly allow businesses to host public marijuana use. Many states have been considering the move and even working to make it happen but Nevada seems to be the state that is making it happen the most quickly. On Tuesday, the state Senate passed the bill which is now headed to the Assembly.
Providing a Safe Space for Tourists
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, said the bill has been aimed at providing a safe space for tourists to consume marijuana which is not allowed to be consumed in casinos or hotels. Safe social smoking locations would be set up for tourists where they could smoke marijuana without incident. “Tourists don’t have a home in Nevada,” he said, adding “we’re trying to get $70 million in tax revenue from them. So let’s give them some place to use it.” This statement is based on Gov. Brian Sandoval’s 2-year budget which estimates that $70 million in marijuana tax revenue will be made for Nevada.
The Problems Faced by Nevada’s Tourists
The current Nevada law allows adults over the age of 21 to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana and consume it in the privacy of their homes. This leaves tourists with nowhere to consume the plant and given the fact Nevada hosts one of the country’s favorite tourist destinations, Las Vegas, it is wise to think about this accommodation. Having said that, one of the reasons other states have been wary of taking this step is that the attitude of the federal government has been less than hospitable towards the marijuana industry.
Fear of a Federal Response
Attorney General Jeff Sessions and press secretary Sean Spicer have both indicated that there is a desire within the administration to crack down on recreational marijuana in particular. With so many states invested in the marijuana industry, it’s unclear whether or not these threats will amount to anything but the fact that marijuana is still technically illegal on a federal level, has made lawmakers uneasy about triggering a crackdown. This is why Colorado’s Gov. John Hickenlooper was adamant about not allowing social marijuana clubs to be set up earlier this month.
Further Progressive Marijuana Legislature in Nevada
Nevada has been looking at several more bills this month that relate to how marijuana will be regulated in the state. Among these bills are measures that would allow people previously convicted of possessing under 1 ounce of marijuana to have their records vacated and sealed, prevent employers from discriminating against cannabis users, and allow for hemp growth and production in the state. These bills would still need to pass both houses and be signed by the governor but they are demonstrative of how the state is ready to move forward with marijuana in Nevada.
It’s clear that the state is looking to become a place where fair marijuana law exists and all are welcome to partake in the state’s marijuana industry.