In Las Vegas, the balance between cannabis and tourism is a delicate one. Even though cannabis is legal, and so are dispensaries, it is illegal to consume it in any public place, and according to law, that includes just about anywhere, that isn’t a private home, including a hotel room. And hotels don’t want to allow anything that could jeopardize their all-important gaming licenses
So, what is a well-meaning cannabis connoisseur to do when on vacation but looking to smoke a joint purchased on the strip? Well, that’s not an easy answer. Sometimes people will smoke it in their hotel room, or on the balcony, and risk a steep fine. In other instances, people will smoke it in parking garages or just out on the street and risk the ire of law enforcement. According to High Times, that might just end with a polite request to extinguish your joint or put away your vape pen, but this is completely up to the discretion of the police officer in question.
This precariousness is, however, leading to a blossoming of cannabis businesses, many catering to tourists in and around the Las Vegas strip, from a cannabis-themed tour bus to cannabis-themed wedding chapels, and even a cannabis museum.
The tour bus, run by Herbology tours, visits the main dispensaries in town, and as High Times puts it, focuses on the “culture and community” of cannabis in Vegas.
“We decided to go the education route,” says CEO Matthew Minor. “We take a person on a tour bus and give them an experience where they can relax in a fun environment. In addition to that, we give the history and background of how Las Vegas got involved with marijuana.”
“We usually team up with a budtender who will take us through the dispensary, show us the different products, different strains, and give us a 20 to 30-minute educational process as well,” says Minor.
And no, smoking is not allowed on the bus. “Here in Nevada, you’re not able to smoke on the bus. It’s illegal,” says Minor.
Then there are the wedding chapels. The Cannabis Chapel promotes a ‘Weeding,’ to celebrate the love of two tokers for each other and their love of weed.
“The ceremony includes a monologue and script that is very specific to people who are not only embracing each other, but the love they share for cannabis,” chapel director, owner, and ordained minister Drew Gennuso told High Times. “It’s a novelty-themed wedding, which is why a lot of people go to Vegas. It’s like an Elvis wedding on weed.”
Unfortunately, it’s not actually on weed though. The chapel is decorated with fake marijuana, and smoking is not allowed anywhere on the premises.
Then there’s the Cannabition, a cannabis museum expected to open in early August, near the Fremont Street Experience. The museum includes everything from the world’s largest bong (yes, by contract it should work) to a ten-foot bag of weed, gigantic fake buds, and a gigantic fake joint. “My contract says it’s supposed to actually work,” founder J.J. Walker told High Times with a laugh.
Can you try it on site? No.
“We hope guests not only leave feeling they had a good time and got some great pictures but also learned something about this beautiful industry and beautiful plant,” says Walker.
A lot of this may change when Nevada comes around to legalizing cannabis lounges, a proposal currently under consideration. However, the division between cannabis and casinos will remain stark until marijuana is legalized nationally.
“Both Clark County (which regulates the unincorporated Strip) and the city of Las Vegas (which governs Fremont Street and other parts of Downtown) are both weighing options to legalize public lounges or smoking parlors with approval expected within a matter of months. But even if that happens, most resorts will maintain a zero-tolerance policy toward cannabis, at least ones that have a casino on the property. Doing anything at all that would put a gaming license at risk is simply out of the question.” says High Times.