The Verge recently posted a very comprehensive story that’s of concern to anybody who loves Vegas and The Strip: the city is currently looking to become the marijuana tourism Mecca, making Sin City that much more badass.
According to the story, the hope is that, “Las Vegas marijuana dispensaries will be massively profitable tourist attractions that could deepen the entire nation’s relationship with weed,” much as the city has with gambling. By a Tuesday deadline, 109 moneyed applicants had applied to open Vegas’ first dispensary and obtain grow permits. Medical weed has been legal in the state since 2000, but only recently has Nevada set regulations for opening places to buy the product. A proposal to legalize recreational bud is expected to pass in the state by 2016, which the story notes could make The Strip “a potential stateside Amsterdam.”
The people awarded the licenses to open the ten dispensaries have to abide the following:
In general, so-called Sin City is acting conservatively with its first steps into marijuana capitalism. No big flashy signs are permitted, no dispensaries are allowed on the Strip itself (though near the Strip is fine), and businesses can only operate during daylight hours.
People visiting the city, under a rule called “full reciprocity,” would be able to purchase marijuana if they hold a medical card from any state without needing a new prescription. All they would have to do is fill out an affidavit saying they will only procure from one specified dispensary for one month before moving onto another.
However, not everyone’s convinced that The Strip will not mix well with marijuana unless the drug’s completely separate from the drag.
Steve D’Angelo, a longtime marijuana activist and executive director of the Harborside Health Center medical marijuana dispensaries in Oakland and San Jose, CA, says he believes the cannabis industry in Vegas should take pains to differentiate itself from the casinos, or risk a culture clash.
In a white paper he wrote, entitled: “Opportunity or Peril: The Economic Potential of Cannabis Tourism in Las Vegas,” D’Angelo advocated for self-contained cannabis-themed resorts, complete with cannabis film festivals and museums, hotel rooms with hemp sheets and in-room vaporizers, and cafes serving salads with organic hemp-seed dressing. The alternative, he writes, is a scenario where patients “ingest” cannabis in their hotel rooms, casino bathrooms, public walkways, shows, and nightclubs. “Wafting smoke and seeping aromas will confront and disturb families and children along with much of the existing adult clientele,” he writes ominously.
Make sure to pack those cards if you’ve got them.
Read the full article at The Verge.