Cannabis Consumption Lounges – Back on the Agenda

July 10, 2023

In January, the proposed amendment to allow cannabis consumption lounges in unincorporated county code FAILED passage by the Washoe County Board of County Commissioners, however it is again back on their agenda for Tuesday, July 11th. In January, Commissioners Hill and Garcia were the only votes in favor. According to Commissioner Hill, Commissioner Clark, who opposed the change in January, requested it be reconsidered. If you’re unable to attend the meeting, which will have viewing and public comment at UNR – Incline, 999 Tahoe Blvd., Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences, Rm. 119, please write your comments on this subject as soon as possible. Email addresses for the Commissioners may be found below.

The Washoe County Strategic Objective supported by this item: Economic Impacts – Meet the needs of our growing community.

Agenda item 5 staff report poses the following questions:

Specifically, staff is seeking direction from the Board on the following items:
1) Does the Board want to allow cannabis consumption lounges in unincorporated
Washoe County?

Note: Currently there is no such use authorized in the Development Code, so
consumption lounges are therefore prohibited. The Board is not required by State
law to allow consumption lounges.
2) If allowed, should consumption lounges only be allowed as attached to, on the same
parcel as, or on an abutting parcel to an existing retail dispensary; or,
Does the Board also want to allow independent, stand-alone consumption lounges as
authorized by State law?

3) If allowed, does the Board want to allow outdoor lounges or only indoor?
4) If allowed, does the Board want to limit the number or location of consumption
lounges?

Note: Currently there are 5 operating retail dispensaries in unincorporated Washoe
County.
5) If allowed, does the Board want to provide any additional direction for staff to
consider in crafting the necessary code language?

The agenda item states the following:

Recommendation to: (1) Provide direction to staff on initiation of regulations to allow for cannabis consumption lounges in unincorporated Washoe County as provided in Assembly Bill 341 (2021). Discussion and possible direction may include but not be limited to whether the Board of County Commissioners (Board) wants to allow for cannabis consumption lounges, the process for applications for licensing or permitting, locations where lounges would be allowable, site requirements for lounges, and limitations on approval of lounges; and (2) If the Board wishes to allow cannabis consumption lounges in unincorporated Washoe County, initiate amendments to Washoe County Code (WCC)
Chapter 25 (Business Licenses, Permits and Regulations) and Chapter 110 (Development Code) pursuant to WCC Sections 2.030 and 110.818.05 to create the necessary code language to facilitate the Board’s policy direction regarding potential cannabis consumption lounges.
The amendments may include, but are not limited to, the establishment of definitions, standards, location limitations, permitting requirements, and fees associated with cannabis consumption lounges, as well as the resolution of discrepancies that may arise within existing WCC chapters as a result of any new code language; and direct the County Clerk to submit the request to the District Attorney for preparation of the proposed ordinances in accordance with WCC 2.040. Community Services.

Click here to view the calendar with all agenda items related to our community.

Even though this item has been deferred, please send your comments to the following County Commissioners:

Alex Hill at ahill@washoecounty.gov

Mike Clark at meclark@washoecounty.gov

Jeanne Herman at jherman@washoecounty.gov

Mariluz Garcia at mcgarcia@washoecounty.gov

Clara Andriola at candriola@washoecounty.gov

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