Las Vegas Live: Coverage of Nevada’s Adult-Use Cannabis Debut

It’s July 1, 2017, and adult-use cannabis sales are legal in the Silver State. The first retail sales to folks 18 and over kicked off across the state shortly after midnight on Saturday morning.

In Las Vegas, just before the clock struck 12, state Sen. Tick Segerblom, Nevada’s legalization champion (swoon), posted this picture from the ground:

Leafly has correspondents on the Strip covering the festivities, and we’ll be updating coverage throughout the first day of legal sales. If you’re not already our friends on social media, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — Cannabis facilities are ramping up their work for expected lines starting early Saturday in Las Vegas and other Nevada cities that will begin selling cannabis for adult use after voters approved it in November.

But it won’t be a free-for-all in the place where many tourists think anything goes. Police say they have been preparing for months to enforce the law, putting a focus on keeping stoned drivers off the road but also cracking down on those who light up under the neon lights.

Nevada is marking the fastest turnaround from the ballot box to retail sales of any of the seven other states and the District of Columbia where cannabis is legal.

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Here’s a look at what’s expected from legal cannabis in Nevada:

Only in a private home, including yards and porches. While it may be legal to stroll down parts of the Las Vegas Strip with your favorite adult beverage, the same doesn’t apply to cannabis. It’s prohibited in casinos, bars, restaurants, parks, concerts and on U.S. property, from national forests to federally subsidized housing.

While anyone who is 21 with a valid ID can buy up to an ounce of cannabis or one-eighth of an ounce of edibles or concentrates, using it in public can get lead to a $600 ticket for a first offense.

Industry experts predict Nevada’s market will be the nation’s biggest, at least until California plans to begin recreational sales in January.

Nevada sales should eventually exceed those in Colorado, Oregon and Washington state because of the more than 42 million tourists who annually visit Las Vegas. Regulators anticipate 63 percent of customers will be tourists.

“I don’t think we’ve ever seen anything quite like what Nevada is going to look like just because of the sheer volume of tourism in the state,” said Nancy Whiteman, co-owner of the Colorado-based Wana Brands, which makes edible products.

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However, it’s not clear how many people know cannabis is about to be legal. The law bans marijuana advertising on radio, TV or any other medium where 30 percent of the audience is reasonably expected to be younger than 21.

State gambling regulators have directed casinos to abide by federal law, which outlaws the drug. That means tourists will have a hard time finding a place to use it legally despite being the biggest expected piece of the market.

It’s one reason Whiteman and others think edibles will be most popular with visitors, who can eat the goodies almost anywhere without attracting attention, including casino floors where cigarettes are allowed but cannabis consumption is not.

Legislation to establish marijuana clubs and other places to smoke cannabis failed this spring but will be revisited by lawmakers in 2019. State Sen. Tick Segerblom, a leader of the legalization push, anticipates worldwide advertising urging tourists to “come to Nevada and smoke pot — so we must provide a place to do so.”

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One Denver-based entrepreneur already has set up cannabis-friendly condos just off the Las Vegas Strip that allow cannabis smoking but not cigarettes. There’s also a “Cannabus” tour that offers riders a peek inside dispensaries, a grow facility and a swag bag filled with rolling papers and other gifts.

The drug’s potency is much higher than stuff sold on the streets a couple of decades ago. Edibles are the biggest concern because the effects can sneak up on newbies, who may take too much without realizing they are slowly getting high.

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All packaged edibles, from gummies to brownies, must carry labels warning that the intoxicating effects may be delayed for two hours or more and that users should initially eat a small amount.

Some departments have been giving officers additional training on determining who might be impaired.

“It changes the dynamics of what we have to enforce and what we don’t in terms of marijuana,” Deputy Reno Police Chief Tom Robinson said. Previously, “police officers have been told to aggressively enforce marijuana laws. Now, we’ve got to change our stance, which isn’t a big deal, it’s just a mindset shift for our personnel.”

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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