Cannabis show hopefuls await licensing process as regulations near vote

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) — To put the putting green on, you might consider giving people a place to smoke the putting green, but to give them that place you need to get a license. So when will applicants be enlightened for a cannabis parlor license?

With state officials estimating “early fall,” Las Vegas entrepreneurs are hoping their dreams of owning a pot lounge won’t go up in smoke while they wait to hear if they’ll be allowed to open one.

Meanwhile, as the community and compliance board deliberate their operating rules, cannabis entrepreneur Douglas Turner said he hopes to get his hands on a license sooner rather than later.

Turner and his business partner have plans for a cannabis lounge in Las Vegas, emboldened by the knowledge they gained through the county-funded Pathway to Ownership program.

“We received the certificate from the county, just acknowledging that we completed the course – the cannabis business school course,” Turner said. “We took what we learned in class and just applied it to our business plan.”

Now Turner is working to round up investors and waiting for license applications to open.

“It’s kind of a waiting game,” Turner said.

The Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board has already ironed out licensing details: About 45 licenses will go to existing dispensaries looking to expand, with 20 independent licenses granted to independents like Turner, through a lottery system, according to a board spokesperson.

Ten of the 20 independent licenses will be dedicated to social equity applicants. Turner is among those considering applying for a social equity license.

“They have already planned everything; those are just the actual laws for operating salons,” Turner said.

Operating regulations have been drafted in spades recently. Over the past few months, the board has been gathering community feedback and has held 15 public meetings so far, according to Tiana Bohner, public information manager, Nevada CCB.

“It’s their opportunity to speak up and air their grievances,” Turner said.

Regulations drafted so far include banning alcohol in pot lounges and requiring worker training and courses to spot over-intoxication. Here is a complete list of written regulations.

The Nevada CCB will hold a public hearing for the purpose of considering the adoption, amendment or repeal of the regulation. The public hearing will be held at 9:00 a.m. on June 28, 2022, at the Grant Sawyer State Office Building, in room 2450 at 555 East Washington Avenue in Las Vegas. You can also view the meeting by this live stream link.

As for the licenses, Bohner said they would likely be awarded two to three months later.

“We remain on track to issue licenses in early fall, allowing the first salons to open before the end of the year,” Bohner said.

Bohner said the first pot parlors to open will likely be at pre-existing dispensaries.

“Barring unforeseen circumstances, this would most likely be an open retail show by the end of the year,” Bohner said.

Turner worries the longer the wait, the less likely he will be chosen in the lottery, as that could mean more people applying.

“It gives everyone more time to prepare,” Turner said. “I was really hoping it would be sooner so we could, you know, cut out all the noise and stuff.”

Still, he uses his time wisely.

“It’s really the time we’re taking to polish everything,” Turner said.

Turner hopes he will be chosen for a license as soon as the lottery names are drawn.

“A lot of people were excited and looking forward to it opening up really soon, and so, it’s like, not yet! You have to be patient a little bit more,” Turner said.

This is a developing story. FOX5 will continue to bring you the latest.

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