With Emergency Rules, Vegas Gears Up for Nevada’s July 1 Cannabis Launch

Published on June 27, 2017 · Last updated January 7, 2022
Las Vegas, USA - December 13, 2016: Night time aerial view of the Las Vegas strip - a 4.2 mile stretch of road that is bordered by hotels, resorts and casinos including the CityCenter complex, the Cosmopolitan and Planet Hollywood.

With the July 1 launch of Nevada’s adult-use cannabis market less than a week away, state regulators in Nevada are rushing to make sure all regulations are in place before doors open at dispensaries—some as early as the stroke of midnight.

Officials in Clark County and Las Vegas have approved a combined 37 dual-use permits for medical marijuana dispensaries to begin selling adult-use cannabis. And yes, there’s one on the Strip.

Saturday’s festivities were up in the air as recently as last week, after a Carson City judge ruled in favor of alcohol wholesalers who sued, arguing that the ballot measure approved by voters in November gives them exclusive rights to cannabis distribution licenses in the state for 18 months.

But according to state Department of Taxation spokeswoman Stephanie Kapstein, as long as retail stores sell products that meet packaging and labeling requirements that were adopted at an emergency meeting held Monday, the July 1 launch can proceed as planned.

Not all areas will see stores open, however. Some cities have enacted local bans on adult-use cannabis. In Henderson, for example, the City Council in February approved a six-month moratorium on adult-use cannabis sales.

Emergency Regulations Adopted

The Nevada Tax Commission held a meeting Monday to adopt emergency regulations  that govern adult-use marijuana packaging and labeling.

Some regulations were already in place. Gov. Brian Sandoval had already approved rules that bar cannabis products that appeal to kids and require labels indicating the amount of THC contained in a product.

The new regulations, according to the Las Vegas Sun, prohibit any cannabis packaging that depicts cartoon characters, mascots, action figures, balloons, or toys that might appeal to children. Advertising also can’t depict anyone under the age of 21 and cannot appear in publications or other media if the audience is more than 30% children. Advertising at sports or entertainment events at which people younger than 21 are allowed to attend will also be prohibited.

And in addition to labels indicating THC levels, products must also carry warnings against driving while under the influence.

The full emergency regulations, which are good for 120 days, are included in a PDF at the end of this article.

State Moving Forward With Licenses

Despite the legal hiccup with the alcohol distributors last week, Taxation Department spokeswoman Klapstein says officials are moving ahead full bore into day one of legalization.

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More than a hundred letters have been sent to medical marijuana businesses conditionally approving them to join the adult-use market, according to the Record Courier. That includes cultivators, processors, edibles producers, and dispensaries across the state.

Medical marijuana dispensaries will be able to sell adult-use cannabis if they have more in stock than they need for medical cardholders. Klapstein said auditors will be on the lookout to make sure dispensaries don’t stock up on excess cannabis before Saturday’s launch.

Yes, There Will Be a Dispensary on The Strip

Party animals in Las Vegas this weekend will be pleased to learn that cannabis can be purchased at a few dispensaries that are either on the Las Vegas Strip or just a stone’s throw away.

Essence Vegas, which has two locations in the city, will be open to customers at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday. Adults can visit either the Essence-Strip or Essence West location.

Reef, another shop near the Strip, will also launch adult-use sales immediately after midnight. The store has announced that State Sen. Tick Segerblom, who has championed legal cannabis in the Silver State, is scheduled to make the first purchase of the night.

Las Vegas ReLeaf will also be open on July 1. The store is located less than a block away from the Strip.

Not near Vegas? Visit Leafly’s dispensary finder to locate a Nevada cannabis store near you.

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Gage Peake
Gage Peake
Gage Peake is a former staff writer for Leafly, where he specialized in data journalism, sports, and breaking news coverage. He's a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's College of Journalism and Mass Communications.
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