If you’ve wandered through a casino resort parking garage in Las Vegas recently, you might have noticed the unmistakable scent of marijuana lingering in the air.
That’s because Sin City lived up to its reputation as an adult playground in late 2016, when local voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure, legalizing and regulating recreational marijuana use. The sale and consumption of small amounts of marijuana is now legal.
Marijuana legalization, either for medicinal purposes or recreational enjoyment, has become a big business throughout the country. Full-scale recreational sales are also legal in Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.
But Nevada law controls how much you can carry, where you can smoke, and even which growers and distributors are permitted to dispense their buds, “pre-rolled” cigarettes (AKA “joints”), edible gummies, vape pens, and other THC-based products to the masses.
Unless you’re a local who lives here day in and day out, navigating this legal and regulatory maze might just leave you dazed and confused.
Whether you enjoy the occasional puff yourself, or you simply want to learn more about what to expect during your next excursion to Las Vegas, this page is for you. Below, you’ll find a comprehensive guide to legal marijuana in Las Vegas in a safe and responsible fashion.
History of Marijuana Legalization in Nevada
First things first… how did we all get here?
Well, the effort to legalize marijuana in Nevada began way back in 1998, when voters turned out at a 59% margin to support the Nevada Medical Marijuana Act. That ballot initiative was backed up two years later by 65% of the electorate*.
*Nevada law requires two consecutive successful ballot measures to amend the state’s constitution.
From there, medicinal marijuana (MMJ) patients who use THC to remedy symptoms associated with cancer, AIDS, and glaucoma among other ailments were permitted to grow their own plants and smoke at home, but full-scale sales and distribution didn’t become a reality until 2013.
As for recreational marijuana sales and usage, the issue was put to voters in November of 2016 through Question 2, better known as the Initiative to Regulate and Tax Marijuana. Despite an onslaught of negative campaign ads funded by Las Vegas Sands multibillionaire Sheldon Adelson, 54% of voters once again offered their support for an end to prohibition.
At the time, Joe Brezny—spokesperson for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA)—told the Cannabis Business Times that his lobby group was pleased to see voters repeatedly reject prohibition.
By January 1st of 2017, marijuana use became fully legal, and on July 1st of the same year, licensed dispensaries began distributing their products across Las Vegas and the rest of the state. Smokers are now able to possess up to one ounce of “flower,” or 1/8 ounce of concentrated THC or Cannabidiol (CBD) extract.
The law was largely touted as an easy way to build an economic engine in Nevada that didn’t depend on tourism and US casino gambling. By applying a hefty 15% excise tax on all sales, much larger than the 2% tax levied in neighboring California, Nevada sought to generate millions in annual revenue for local school districts.
In fiscal year 2018, the state collected $42.5 million in marijuana-based revenue, with $27.3 million diverted straight to the Nevada Distributive School Account.
You can learn more about how Nevada utilizes its recreational marijuana taxes, along with licensing fees and other revenue derived from the flourishing industry in this informative article published last June by the Las Vegas Sun.
List of Licensed Legal Marijuana Dispensaries in Las Vegas
As of the most recent accounting from the NDT, Las Vegas and its surrounding suburbs are home to 46 licensed marijuana dispensaries:
Legal Marijuana Dispensaries Operating in Las Vegas
|Apothecary Shoppe||4240 W. Flamingo Rd., #100|
|Acres Cannabis||2320 Western Ave.|
|Blackjack Collective||1860 Western Ave.|
|Blüm LV||3650 S. Decatur Blvd.|
|Blüm LV||1130 E. Desert Inn Rd.|
|CannaCopia||6332 S. Rainbow Blvd, #105.|
|Cheyenne Medical||3500 West Sahara Ave.|
|Cultivate Dispensary||3615 Spring Mountain Rd.|
|Essence||5765 W. Tropicana Ave.|
|Essence||2307 S. Las Vegas Blvd.|
|Essence||4300 E. Sunset Rd, Ste. A-2, A3.|
|Exhale Nevada Dispensary||1921 Western Ave.|
|Exhale Nevada Dispensary||4310 W. Flamingo Rd.|
|Inyo Fine Cannabis Dispensary||2520 S. Maryland Pkwy.|
|Jardin Premium Cannabis||2900 E. Desert Inn Rd, #102.|
|Jenny’s Dispensary||5530 N. Decatur Blvd, #115 North|
|Jenny’s Dispensary||10420 S. Eastern Avenue, Suite 100.|
|Releaf||2244 Paradise Rd.|
|Medizin/Planet 13||4850 W. Sunset Rd., #130|
|MedMen||5303 Paradise Rd.|
|MMJ America||4660 S. Decatur Blvd.|
|Nevada Medical Marijuana||3195 St. Rose Parkway, Suite 212.|
|Nevada Medical Marijuana||1975 S. Casino Dr.|
|Nevada Wellness Center||3200 S. Valley View Blvd.|
|New Amsterdam Naturals||823 S. 3rd St.|
|NuLeaf||430 E. Twain Ave.|
|Oasis Medical Cannabis||1800 Industrial Rd., #180|
|Piso’s||4110 S. Maryland Pkwy.|
|Reef Dispensaries||3400 Western Ave.|
|Reef Dispensaries||1366 W. Cheyenne Ave, #110 – 111.|
|Sahara Wellness||420 E. Sahara Ave.|
|Shango||4380 Boulder Hwy.|
|ShowGrow||4850 S. Fort Apache Rd., Suite #100|
|Silver Sage Wellness||4626 W. Charleston Blvd.|
|Euphoria Wellness||7780 S. Jones Boulevard|
|The Apothecarium||7885 W. Sahara Ave., #111 – 112|
|The Dispensary||5347 S. Decatur Blvd.|
|The Dispensary||50 N. Gibson Road|
|The Grove||4647 Swenson St.|
|The Source||2550 S. Rainbow Blvd, Suite 8.|
|Thrive Cannabis Marketplace||2755 W. Cheyenne Ave.|
|Thrive Cannabis Marketplace||1112 S. Commerce St.|
|Top Notch The Health Center||5630 Stephanie St.|
|ZenLeaf||9120 W. Post Rd., #103.|
During your next trip to Sin City, you can visit any of these locations to purchase marijuana in a safe, comfortable, and completely legal setting. Most of the dispensaries are extremely upscale establishments.
What to Expect When Visiting a Vegas Marijuana Dispensary
For smokers, stepping inside a legal marijuana dispensary for the first time feels a little like walking into Willy Wonka’s Weed Factory.
I personally prefer The Apothecary Shoppe, which boasts a beautiful interior that invites customers to gaze upon the THC-fueled goodies showcased within glass display cases. This venue is my personal favorite based on its proximity to the Strip, as it only takes a couple minutes driving westbound on Flamingo Road to reach this oasis in the desert. Just go right past the Gold Coast casino and when you see the Palms on your left, The Apothecary Shoppe can be found to your right.
If you’re a first-time customer, the process begins by presenting yourself to the security staff manning the entrance. They’ll check your purse or backpack before you head inside, where a receptionist stands ready to verify your age via an ID check. Next up, you’ll need to fill out a very short form with the pertinent information, such as your name, address, and phone number. This info is used later on to streamline the process during repeat visits.
Once you’ve been admitted, you’ll take a number and wait to be called. Dispensaries like to limit the amount of customers who enter the actual marijuana sales floor, so you’ll kick back in a waiting room just like you would at a doctor or dentist appointment.
When your name and number is called, you’ll be greeted by a “budtender” who will escort you through the secure doorway and into pot paradise. Display cases will contain everything from pre-rolled joints perfect for smoking without additional equipment, packets of flower or bud measured and priced with precision, and all varieties of edibles, concentrates, and other modern additions to the marijuana enthusiast’s menu.
Feel free to ask questions about the various strains. Indica is known for inducing a “body high,” laughter, and relaxation, while sativa provides a more energetic, mentally active state, along with their respective THC content.
That budtender label is more than just a funny pun, as the employees who staff Las Vegas’ legal dispensaries are highly trained in the art and science of marijuana growth. If you’re looking for something to mellow out after a hard day’s work, an edible that won’t leave you stuck to the couch, or a concentrate that can be “vaped” on the go, your budtender will be happy to steer your toward the correct strain.
When you’ve selected your goodies, be sure to leave a tip for the staff, then proceed to the checkout counter to settle up. Dispensaries will accept cash or debit/credit card, and you’ll receive an itemized receipt listing your purchases and all applicable taxes and fees.
To give you a sense of the pricing structure, check out The Apothecary Shoppe’s menu here. The best dispensaries in Las Vegas love to secure customer loyalty by offering freebies and discounts for first-time visitors.
To complete the transaction, most dispensaries will vacuum seal your products in a nondescript package which won’t be identifiable to non-smokers. This convenient feature allows you to head back to your car, return to the casino resort, and head back up to your room without emitting any odors or attracting unwanted attention.
Where You Can Use THC Products Legally While in Las Vegas
While the law permits the growth, sale, and purchase of marijuana, Nevada policymakers made sure to include provisions limiting where users can enjoy their THC- and CBD-based products.
Simply put, if you think you can light one up while you’re in a hotel room, you’ll have a rude awakening on your hands. The law limits usage to one’s personal residence only, making Las Vegas hotels, casinos, and even outdoor cigarette smoking areas no-go zones.
In fact, you’ll often find a little placard in your room, smoking or non-smoking, which states that marijuana odors left behind will result in a sizable surcharge added to your final bill. This is why those parking garages and other secluded areas adjacent to the casino will often smell like Woodstock.
With that said, the increased popularity of edibles and vape pens within the industry speaks to the average smoker’s urge to remain inconspicuous.
With a packet of THC-infused gummy bears stashed in your pocket or purse, you can easily enhance your mindset without anybody else ever noticing. And in the case of vape pens, their ability to emit water vapor that remains odorless and dissipates within seconds makes them a preferred vehicle for folks who spend most of their time in crowded places.
It may sound silly to exercise an abundance of caution in Las Vegas. Nonetheless, responsible marijuana smokers should do right by this emerging industry by adhering to all laws and norms pertaining to public smoking.
Marijuana usage remains a contentious subject across the country, but as Nevada and 32 other states have proven, legalization and regulation can become a smashing success. From the economic benefits provided by every bud bought, to the reduction in petty criminal activity associated with the black market, Las Vegas has rolled a winner with its legal marijuana gamble. If you’re looking to enjoy this addition to Sin City’s smorgasbord of indulgence, I hope this guide helps you on every step along the way.