Ne­vada law­mak­ers tour San Fran­cisco pot smok­ing lounges

Merced Sun-Star (Saturday) - - News - As­so­ci­ated Press

Sen. Tick Segerblom is con­vinced “any­thing is pos­si­ble” af­ter he and other Ne­vada law­mak­ers toured San Fran­cisco pot lounges, gain­ing insight into how to in­tro­duce such es­tab­lish­ments where mar­i­juana can be con­sumed legally out­side the pri­vacy of one’s home.

Clark County and Las Ve­gas of­fi­cials have ex­plored the pos­si­bil­ity of such lounges as far back as Septem­ber 2017, three months af­ter recre­ational sales be­came le­gal in Ne­vada.

San Fran­cisco is the only ma­jor U.S. city to of­fer full-scale fa­cil­i­ties where the plant can legally be smoked, vaped, dabbed or eaten.

The one-day fact-find­ing trip to the Bay Area on Mon­day took them to two con­sump­tion lounges, Har­vest and the Bar­bary Coast, the Las Ve­gas Sun re­ported .

At the Har­vest, a high­stakes NFL Mon­day night foot­ball game lit up an 82-inch (208-cen­time­ter) tele­vi­sion on the wall. Swing mu­sic played in the back­ground as about two dozen peo­ple sat around eat­ing pizza still steam­ing hot from a neigh­bor­ing restau­rant, the news­pa­per re­ported.

Oth­ers in the cozy in­door fa­cil­ity sat on a side couch in front of their lap­tops, placed on one of five small cof­fee ta­bles. A woman in her 20s re­clined peace­fully in a heap of pil­lows on an­other sofa, with wire­less head­phones cov­er­ing her ears.

The scene of a le­gal mar­i­juana con­sump­tion lounge in 2018 varies greatly from what pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions may have as­so­ci­ated with le­gal­ized pot, said Tom Pow­ers, the guest ser­vice man­ager at Har­vest dis­pen­sary. When Pow­ers and col­lege friend Marty Hig­gins pur­chased the dis­pen­sary three years ago, its at­tached con­sump­tion lounge – filled with old, tie-dye cur­tains and a dirty car­pet floor that reeked of the plant – at­tracted drug ad­dicts and “un­sa­vory” clien­tele, he said.

Now, af­ter a com­plete in­te­rior makeover that in­cludes the in­stal­la­tion of four chan­de­liers, a large ar­ray of modern fur­ni­ture and a state-of-the-art ven­ti­la­tion sys­tem, Pow­ers’ fa­cil­ity at­tracts pri­mar­ily women, se­niors and mil­len­ni­als.

“There’s so many mis­con­cep­tions about the in­dus­try still,” Pow­ers said. “But this is the re­al­ity of our busi­ness. It’s a slow process.”

The law­mak­ers started the day with a con­fer­ence with San Fran­cisco’s Of­fice of Cannabis. Agency di­rec­tor Nicole El­liott told the Ne­vada co­hort that lo­cal gov­ern­ment’s lead al­lowed lounges to take a trial-an­der­ror ap­proach to en­ter­ing Cal­i­for­nia’s le­gal weed in­dus­try as far back as 2008. As state law has evolved to ac­com­mo­date, as many as seven lounges across the city op­er­ate suc­cess­fully with only three be­ing shut down by fed­eral au­thor­i­ties.

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