Nevada Announces Weed Consumption Lounge Licensees As Battle Over 'Unconstitutional' Schedule I Continues

Nevada's long-awaited cannabis consumption lounges are preparing to open in the first half of 2023, the state's regulators said recently. On Wednesday, at a lottery event, the state Cannabis Compliance Board (CCB) announced the first 40 cannabis consumption lounge licensees.

Permits are awarded by using random number selector software. Twenty were reserved for social equity applicants, while the remaining 20 went to existing marijuana retailers. The names of businesses awarded the first licenses are posted online.

The CCB started accepting applications on October 14 and closed submissions on October 27. The state's cannabis regulators received 100 applications, out of which "20 applications were from existing retailers, 50 from independent lounge applicants, and 30 from independent social equity applicants," read an official announcement.

Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) signed a bill from Assemblyman Steve Yeager (D) legalizing consumption lounges in Nevada last year. In June, the Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board (CCB) approved regulations that allow cannabis consumption lounges to have their licenses and operate in the state.

Nevada Regulators Appeal To Court Ruling To Remove Marijuana From Schedule 1 Drug Designation

Meanwhile, it seems that the months-long legal hurdle that is marijuana's Schedule 1 drug designation in Nevada has not yet been cleared. The state's Board of Pharmacy filed a notice of appeal, reported Marijuana Moment.

Weeks after a Clark County District Court judge weighed in on a closely-followed lawsuit backed by the Nevada ACLU and filed against the Nevada Board of Pharmacy determined that listing cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug is unconstitutional, which has allowed police to arrest people for cannabis possession, the final ruling was issued in October.

With that decision, which follows an exciting precedent at the state court level that sought to remove cannabis's schedule 1 designation, Judge Joe Hardy stripped the Board of Pharmacy of the ability to regulate cannabis, saying that it "exceeded its authority" by keeping cannabis in Schedule I.

The court's ruling "represents a tectonic shift in State law with repercussions far beyond the scope of the Board's jurisdiction: it impacts State regulation of marijuana altogether, the delineation of what may or may not constitute criminal conduct and, ultimately, public safety," the board said in the motion filed last week.

But, ACLU NV legal director Chris Peterson is of a different opinion.

"The District Court's ruling was thoughtful and strong," he said. "For more than 20 years, there's been an ongoing inconsistency with how Nevada categorizes cannabis."

Peterson emphasized that they are not planning to stop fighting for their cause.

"We have no intention of backing down until we have fixed this inconsistency to prevent further injustice," he said.

Photo: Courtesy of PatternPictures, lindsayfox by Pixabay

Market News and Data brought to you by Benzinga APIs
Posted In: CannabisGovernmentNewsRegulationsPoliticsLegalMarketsGeneralcannabis consumption loungesChris PetersonJoe HardylawsuitmarijuanaNevadaSteve Sisolak
Benzinga simplifies the market for smarter investing

Trade confidently with insights and alerts from analyst ratings, free reports and breaking news that affects the stocks you care about.

Join Now: Free!

The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference is coming to Florida

The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference is returning to Florida, in a new venue in Hollywood, on April 16 and 17, 2024. The two-day event at The Diplomat Beach Resort will be a chance for entrepreneurs, both large and small, to network, learn and grow. Renowned for its trendsetting abilities and influence on the future of cannabis, mark your calendars – this conference is the go-to event of the year for the cannabis world.

Get your tickets now on – Prices will increase very soon!