Under Nevada’s current laws, you can visit Las Vegas and purchase marijuana at any dispensary — there just isn’t anywhere near the Strip for you to legally consume it. That all changes today, February 23, as Thrive Cannabis Marketplace becomes the first dispensary in the state to be approved by the Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board to operate a consumption lounge, which opens tonight.

The lounge, called Smoke & Mirrors, opens at 9 p.m. on Friday — and more like it are on the way. Adjacent to the Thrive dispensary at 2975 S. Sammy Davis Jr. Drive, half a mile from Las Vegas Boulevard, Smoke & Mirrors is a venue in which visitors can legally consume many of the products found in the dispensary — plus a cocktail menu of 11 THC-infused libations. There’s ​​the Godfather, named in homage to Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom, who proposed a “marijuana lounge” bill during Nevada’s 2017 legislative session. It’s made with Sobreo Vietnamese Anise, blueberry puree, lime juice, pineapple juice, agave nectar, and basil leaves. The Evolve uses Sobreo Indonesian cinnamon, apple juice, vanilla syrup, and a cinnamon stick. And the Higher Ground is a take on a green tea cocktail.

“We have the opportunity to be in the marijuana capital of the world if we do this right,” Segerblom told Eater Vegas in 2022. A years-long advocate for legal marijuana usage in the state, Segerblom has been at the forefront of the legal fight for both Nevada residents and tourists to obtain and consume marijuana safely and legally.

Cannabis lounges are spaces where both locals and tourists can sip THC-infused cocktails, socialize, enjoy live music, and smoke cannabis in a setting that is not only safe, but also legal. Currently, there exists only one other consumption lounge in the state. In 2019, the NuWu dispensary opened a lounge, since renamed the Sky High Lounge. NuWu is on sovereign tribal land and owned by the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe, which doesn’t follow the same regulations for cannabis lounges put forth by the Cannabis Compliance Board. Sky High has a rooftop terrace, dab bars, and uninfused food and drink available.

Nevada legalized the recreational use of marijuana in 2016. In the 2021 legislative session, lounges and state regulations were approved, and, in late 2022, the state awarded prospective licenses to 40 applicants for consumption lounges. Since then, licensees have been hard at work preparing for suitability investigations, building out lounges, navigating the process of dosing food and drink for consumption, and sourcing cannabis to earn their conditional licenses.

Under current Nevada laws, cannabis can only be consumed in private residences, not on public sidewalks, and not in hotel rooms — which has put tourists in a bind. The lounges not only give people who are not residents a new place in which to legally consume, it also opens up a whole new culinary genre for Las Vegas: cannabis lounges can one day serve infused food.

Christopher LaPorte of Reset, the consulting team that worked on developing Smoke & Mirrors, has been waiting for this day for seven years. The lounge plans to offer programming like social events, co-working spaces, and live performances from local and touring artists and DJs. It will be open from 4 p.m. to midnight on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and from noon to midnight Thursday through Sunday. LaPorte is replicating the vibes of Vegas ultra lounges of the early 2000s. “Music, drinks, pretty people, and friendly ‘white-glove treatment’ staff,” he says.

On the heels of Smoke & Mirrors opening, Planet 13 (2548 West Desert Inn Road) is likely to be the second dispensary to open a lounge. A telephone booth will open the doorway into Dazed — a vibrant and art-filled lounge set to open before April 20. It will feature canna-cocktails, bong chandeliers, and a tasting menu of various cannabis offerings, including flower, concentrates, vapes, and edibles, all of which can also be purchased at Planet 13’s adjacent dispensary for customers to take home. Planet 13, which operates the Trece restaurant next door, will also serve food in the lounge.

“We think a lot of consumers would love to have lunch or dinner while smoking a joint or have events with consumption,” David Farris, Planet 13’s vice president of sales and marketing, said after the dispensary was awarded its license.

A rendering of Dazed Consumption Lounge shows a vibrant space with patterned tiled floors, jewel-toned seating, and chandeliers.

Rendering of Dazed Consumption Lounge.
Planet 13

A rendering of Dazed Consumption Lounge shows a telephone booth that functions as a doorway between the lounge and dispensary.

Rendering of Dazed Consumption Lounge.
Planet 13

“With consumption lounges, the program we’re rolling out is very unique. There’s no blueprint, no real example across the nation. So we’re blazing some new ground here,” says Tyler Klimas, executive director of the Cannabis Compliance Board, which governs Nevada’s cannabis industry through regulation of the state’s cannabis licensing and operations.

Other established dispensaries are best poised to open their lounges next. The other 20 prospective licenses were reserved for independent lounges, ones that are not affiliated with a dispensary. Half of those are reserved for social equity licenses — for applicants who have been hindered, harmed, or disenfranchised by the war on drugs. The 10 reserved prospective licenses aim to diversify ownership in an industry where more than 80 percent of leadership roles are held by white men. While fees for licenses for retail lounges were $100,000, fees for social equity licenses were $2,500.

Chandler Cooks, the dean of students at the Cannabis Equity and Inclusion Community, has one such social equity license. Cooks wants to open a consumption lounge that harkens back to the Moulin Rouge Hotel, the first desegregated hotel-casino in the U.S. It operated for only about six months in 1955.

Because the consumption lounge model is still new, Smoke & Mirrors will have a last call at midnight and strongly recommends customers use a ride share. For those who drive, it has a no-towing rule in the parking lot. And because it will be a first visit to a lounge for most customers, staff will take visitors on what LaPorte calls a “guided journey.” “They’re here to make sure you’re having a good time,” he says. “And it’s safe.”

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