LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Will Strip hotels follow the lead of a small hotel that plans to allow marijuana consumption in some of its rooms?
The Artisan Hotel Boutique’s announcement Tuesday was a tweak on original plans for the 64-room Las Vegas hotel. In March 2022, the plan was for “all-inclusive cannabis activities” at a rebranded hotel called “The Lexi.”
Things have slowed since, as state and local regulations and licensing processes go into place for cannabis lounges.
City of Las Vegas spokesman Jace Radke said representatives from the Artisan have met with the business licensing department. “If the hotel wants to pursue a marijuana consumption lounge they will have to go through the application process like any other business,” Radke said. “That application process is not yet in place in the city of Las Vegas.”
Are hotel rooms subject to rules set up for lounges? Probably not, but that’s not the issue that will come up at Caesars Palace, the MGM Grand, the Venetian, Wynn Resorts or any other major Strip resort.
The Artisan doesn’t have a gaming license. There’s no casino. Not even any bar-top poker machines. That’s an important distinction.
It’s the Nevada Gaming Control Board that puts teeth into enforcement of regulations against cannabis products. Break the rules, and your gaming license could be in jeopardy. Don’t expect the big companies to flirt with cannabis until it’s legalized at the federal level.
“Cannabis remains illegal under federal law,” Dawn Christensen, vice president of communications & corporate responsibility for the Nevada Resort Association, said Wednesday.
“Our members, as privileged license holders, must abide by all federal, state and local laws to remain in compliance with gaming regulations,” Christensen said.
The Artisan is not a member of the Nevada Resort Association.
“Nevada gaming regulators have mandated that the gaming industry and the cannabis industry shall remain separate,” Christensen said. “This is why the Nevada Resort Association has a long and consistent position on the location of cannabis establishments and advocated strongly for the 1,500-foot distance separation from nonrestricted gaming licensees that was codified in AB 533 in the 2019 Legislature and again in AB 341 in the 2021 Legislature. The 1,500-foot buffer is a safeguard to keep the two industries separate.”
Will the Artisan take the bold step it has promised? Or will other barriers stop the plan to cozy up to cannabis?
The company might have to step away from the original plan for a lounge and cannabis-infused food at a restaurant — amenities that would require a license for a cannabis consumption lounge — but the rest of its plan appears to be within the law. And the property’s owners have their experience at the Clarendon Hotel and Spa in Phoenix, which has been welcoming cannabis use since July 2021.
A check on recent reviews on TripAdvisor didn’t reveal any complaints regarding the cannabis-friendly policies.