LAS VEGAS (CBSMiami) – The legal use of marijuana is the latest temptation available to the tens of millions of people who visit Las Vegas each year. But there’s a catch.
Last month, Nevada became the eighth state to allow the sale of recreational pot to adults 21 and older. However, the state also placed restrictions on what people can do after they legally buy pot.
Basically, buying marijuana on Las Vegas’ famous strip is perfectly legal, but smoking it there is against the law. Nevada law mandates that legally bought marijuana be consumed in a private residence. Nothing public – which includes casinos, hotels, cars, and sidewalks.
Armen Yemenidjian, who owns this dispensary, says the law puts most of his customers in a tough spot.
“Seventy to eighty percent are tourists,” Armen who pointed out that they have no private place to go to smoke their purchase, “That’s the problem.”
In the eight states that have legalized marijuana, implementing the new drug laws has been challenging for consumers.
For instance, people in California and Massachusetts may possess it, or grow it, but not buy or sell it legally until next year. Sales are legal in Colorado, Nevada, and Washington but, for now, public consumption is banned.
Nevada Senator Tick Segerblom supported legalizing marijuana in his state.
“People are using it, so this is not something new. Let’s just go ahead and acknowledge that fact and provide a venue for them where they can have fun,” he said. “Marijuana is perfect for Sin City.”
But for now, Vegas casinos and hotels have too much at stake to allow it. Gaming is a thirteen billion dollar business in this state. Casino licenses require following federal, state and local laws.
David Harper, a 25-year old from Houston, bought his marijuana legally and plans to smoke it illegally.
“You just gotta be discrete,” said Harper, “And I’m definitely not the only one.”
So far, there has been no consensus about a solution. The marijuana industry wants legal pot cafes, they kind you see overseas in Amsterdam and the kind Colorado will roll out later this summer.
The head of the Nevada Gaming Commission said casinos must follow federal regulations. So, until federal law changes, marijuana will not be allowed near the casinos.