[UPDATE: The story has been updated with information on legal recreational cannabis sales in Nevada during its first 4 days]
LAS VEGAS, June 26, 2017 — When Nevada voted to legalize recreational cannabis in November 2016, cannabis enthusiasts and tourists alike rejoiced at the thought of experiencing all the highs and bright lights of the Las Vegas Strip while a little high themselves.
It’s Sin City, after all- and come July 1st, 2017, anyone over the age of 21 will be able to buy some recreational cannabis of their own.
The day came remarkably fast, and the road to it hasn’t been without some legal wrangling of its own.
According to Merry Jane, when recreational cannabis was approved, Nevada’s alcohol distributors were given “exclusive rights to the market for the first year and a half” and on June 13th, a judge in Carson City, Nevada, blocked the issuance of cannabis licenses to any business that isn’t involved in the sale or distribution of alcohol.
This put the July 1st start date in jeopardy, but state regulators still went ahead with giving retail licenses to 25-30 medical dispensaries in the Las Vegas area in order to meet that deadline, despite the court order.
First 4 days
The first few days of legal recreational cannabis went without a hitch as sales exceeded expectations with huge demand, especially in Las Vegas, where some waited in line for more than 3 hours! According to the Las Vegas Sun, recreational cannabis sales “generated $3 million in sales revenue and about $500,000 in tax revenue”. The mood was festive and celebratory, especially on July 1st, the first night, where people waited eagerly until midnight amidst block parties, food trucks, and live music.
Tips for tourists
It’s important to keep in mind that for Nevada’s surrounding states of Utah, Idaho, and Arizona, recreational cannabis use is still illegal (and in Utah, everything other than CBD oil, which must be recommended by your doctor, is illegal), so don’t be crossing those state lines if you have cannabis! Even when crossing between states that have legalized cannabis, such as Oregon and California, it’s better to take caution, as the act of crossing state borders puts you under federal jurisdiction.
Also, cannabis consumption is meant for private use only, and you can’t smoke it (or otherwise consume it) in public, on federal land, or in your vehicle. Plus, casinos have also banned cannabis consumption, which has led to calls for social clubs where people can go to smoke their weed in peace, and this is especially important for tourists- because what’s the point of having recreational cannabis available if there is no place for you to legally enjoy it?
Mark your calendars
Although there were some issues that needed to get ironed out beforehand, it all went well so now you can mark July 1st, 2017, as the historic day that recreational cannabis finally came to Las Vegas!