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LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – Recreational marijuana was approved by Nevada voters in 2016, and now the first regulated Las Vegas cannabis consumption lounge has opened over seven years later.

Smoke and Mirrors is the first of 19 conditionally approved lounges in Nevada, located in the Thrive Cannabis Marketplace near the Las Vegas Strip. Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom made history with the first sale inside one of these lounges during its Friday opening at 4:20 p.m.

Smoke and Mirrors is the first regulated cannabis lounge in Nevada. (KLAS)

Before those who consumed cannabis in public areas were subject to fines.

“The reality is you could buy it, but you can’t use it in the dispensary and if you’re a tourist, you can’t use it. There’s no home to use it at,” Segerblom said, speaking of prohibitive county laws Friday afternoon. “This is the first time we’ve ever actually used it publicly for anybody. Right now, if I walked down the street, even though I’m a Nevada resident, if I use it, that’s a misdemeanor. So now we can actually use it visibly.”

Clark County already receives $15 million in tax revenue from dispensaries. Segerblom expects $3 to $4 million additionally each year after each lounge is built. There is no timeline for when the other 18 approved lounges will receive their final license from the Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board, which is the last step needed to open.

Thrive Cannabis Marketplace CEO Mitch Britten says the infrastructure for this lounge was built long before they had the green light to open. They included it in the initial construction nearly two years ago.

The foresight to be first also meant first to navigate the burden of meeting regulations, like the ability to not smell cannabis from outside the building and a heavy ventilation system within it.

“For us, it was finding the right mixture of scrubbing the air from within and providing ample air exchanges to make sure this room still smells like you’re in a cannabis lounge but has very safe and healthy smoke levels,” Britten said, sitting at the cocktail bar inside the lounge.

The lounge offers a check-in service for reservations or walk-up clients. There is a curation of cannabis products to smoke and also cannabis-infused drinks at a bar inside the lounge.

Nevada Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager sponsored the assembly bill that ultimately carved the path for lounges like this to open in 2021. He adds that this variety allows anyone, whether the weekend tourist or the weekday Las Vegan, to experience cannabis safely and in their own way.

“This gives people a space to come and consume in any way they want, that could be smoking. That could be a cannabis-infused beverage,” Yaegar said, sitting at the cocktail bar.

Smoke and Mirrors is the first regulated cannabis lounge in Nevada. (KLAS)

The opening of the lounge was delayed several months and operators said to ensure compliance with strict regulations, specifically with ventilation.

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