Las Vegas has always been known as a playground for adults. And the city confirmed this reputation when its voters approved legalizing recreational marijuana use in 2016. Nevada is now among the 15 states where marijuana is completely legal. Whether for medicinal or recreational use, legalization resulted in the proliferation of weed-related businesses all over the state.
In Nevada, Clark County alone has 47 dispensaries. Twenty-two of those are in Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, and Henderson. Nevada’s laws, however, limit the amount you can carry. Also, you can’t smoke anywhere you want: public places are a definite no-no. Unless you’re a local, finding your way through this regulatory maze can be confusing.
So, before you go out and procure weed from any of Las Vegas’ dozens of excellent dispensaries, keep in mind a few of these restrictions to avoid ending up on the wrong side of the law.
Las Vegas Cannabis Restrictions
Cannabis may be legal in Las Vegas, but it’s not like Amsterdam where you can partake in marijuana cafés and night clubs. There are also limits on what you can carry with you, how much you can buy, and other restrictions. Below is a guide for visitors about recreational marijuana in Vegas.
- Is It Legal To Carry Marijuana With You?
Possessing up to an ounce of marijuana for personal consumption is completely legal. That is, if you’re 21 years or older. For hash or cannabis concentrates, you’re allowed to have up to 3.5 grams. Possession of paraphernalia such as bongs is also legal, provided you’re 21 years or older. Holders of a valid medical marijuana card, who are at least 18 years old, are also allowed to legally buy weed in Las Vegas.
- Can You Smoke Marijuana In Public?
No. The only legal place you can smoke is on private property. This is because marijuana is still illegal at the federal level. Smoking or consuming marijuana in public is still illegal in Las Vegas. This includes inside a vehicle, or on any federal property. If caught by any federal officer, you could face jail time or, at the very least, a fine.
- What About Inside Your Hotel Room?
Regrettably, a hotel room in any of the hotels on the Vegas Strip isn’t considered private residence. However, marijuana tourism sites at the local level have assembled lists of weed-friendly lodging in Las Vegas. You should probably verify first with the staff before booking whether they’re on this list.
- Can You Consume Marijuana In Any Of The Casinos?
Casinos don’t allow patrons to openly consume weed on their premises. As mentioned above, marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, so casinos would be at risk of losing their gambling license.
- Can You Drive Legally Under The Influence Of Cannabis?
Taking marijuana outside state lines is illegal. It could result in a felony conviction if you’re arrested. It’s probably best to remember not to take any marijuana products out of Nevada for whatever reason.
Now that you’re familiar with Las Vegas laws regarding weed, it’s time to prepare for your Vegas dispensary visit. Dispensaries will help make your experience comfortable and smooth. Each dispensary may be different, but they all play with the same rules and etiquette.
Visiting A Las Vegas Dispensary
Legal marijuana is sold at dispensaries because pharmacies are prohibited by federal law to prescribe and sell cannabis products. A dispensary carries and sells only one particular product, so a marijuana dispensary is the place where you should go when you want to procure cannabis products of any kind.
Stepping into a marijuana dispensary for the first time can be overwhelming. You’ll feel like the proverbial kid in a candy store. Don’t feel intimidated, though. Budtenders (you know what they are, right?) at your local dispensary are only too willing to help you.
If you’re a weed connoisseur and visiting Las Vegas, expect your dispensary experience in Sin City to be unique. You’ll have numerous choices of first-rate dispensaries scattered throughout Las Vegas. Some can be pricey, some quiet and laid-back, while others have that typical Vegas flair.
There are two types of dispensaries in Vegas: medical and recreational. Medical cards from other states are accepted in Vegas. If you have one, be sure to have the paperwork with you. Usually, medical cards will get you cheaper bud and faster service. Some places, however, are for recreational use only. There are also online dispensary menus, but their inventory isn’t always updated. If you want a specific product, you should give them a call first.
You also have the option to avail of the various dispensaries’ delivery service. You should know, though, that while delivery and ordering online is available in many places, only a small number offer 24/7 service. And don’t expect your weed to be delivered to your hotel room—delivery to any of the hotel-casinos is illegal.
Furthermore, you’re also not allowed to smoke weed in a public place or your hotel room, although that rule gets a little hazy on account of all the smoke that permeates Las Vegas Valley.
If you’re a first-timer and looking for ways to save, many dispensaries offer freebies and special discounts for first-timers. They also have customer loyalty programs and various daily deals to entice cannabis connoisseurs.
Dispensaries in Vegas are staffed with friendly and helpful budtenders who can guide first-timers to find the high you’re looking for. If you’re going to be visiting one, think about which dispensary is best suited for you before looking for a ‘dispensary near me.’
Keep in mind, though, that dispensaries near the Strip can be expensive. That goes with everything else on or near the Strip. You’ll be paying for the tourist tax. There are also additional taxes to consider—many dispensaries for example don’t include the 10% sales tax on the sticker price.
Preparing To Visit A Dispensary
Visiting a recreational marijuana dispensary is easier than visiting a medical dispensary. You still have to prove your age, though, and if the dispensary you’re visiting is both medical and recreational, you should inform the receptionist about your specific cannabis needs. In any case, it’s better to be prepared when visiting a dispensary to avoid wasting your time. Part of your preparation is to know what to bring when dropping by at a dispensary.
- Bring an ID.
Dispensaries—medical, recreational, or both—will always ask for your ID. But not just any ID. Your Justice League ID card probably won’t be honored. A government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license or any state-issued ID, is best. Otherwise, you won’t get served. Medical marijuana patients should bring their IDs, too.
- Have some cash with you.
Enough to cover your cannabis purchase, at least. Many dispensaries will only accept cash. Only a handful accept plastic, so that’s another thing you’d have to check, whether they accept card or cash. As a rule of thumb, though, assume that dispensaries only accept cash.
- Know what you want.
You should also consider what kind of high you want from your cannabis. Do you want the kind of high that makes you feel as motivated as a conqueror while listening to the music of ‘Two Steps From Hell?’ Or something that could help you relax and chill out?
If it’s something specific, or maybe a recommendation for a new strain, it’s perfectly okay to communicate what you want to the staff. The budtender could help and give you options. If you know what you want and understand what type of high you’re looking for, they could easily guide you to the right product.
- Do a little research before going to your first dispensary.
A budtender could help you choose the right product, whatever your experience level. But if you’re completely new to marijuana, doing a little research prior to your visit might make you feel more comfortable and confident. Knowing common cannabis terms and products will help you communicate better when you’re talking to a budtender about product recommendations.
There are online resources where you can learn about the different kinds of cannabis products, like tinctures, concentrates, vapes, edibles, and flowers. It’s also great if you can learn about various types of marijuana strains, so you’ll know whether Indica, Sativa or any hybrid strain is right for you. It also couldn’t hurt if you are familiar with weed-related terms, such as terpenes, flavors, THC, CBD, cannabinoids, and more.
- You should also think about what kind of assistance you want on your first visit.
People new to weed might need a lot of hand-holding to find the right kind of products for them. On the other hand, a veteran user might want help in looking for an exciting new strain or product. There’s also the in-and-out visitor to the dispensary, who knows exactly what they’re going to get and just want to drop by and replenish their stock.
Whatever it is you expect at the dispensary, it’s good if you already have an idea prior to visiting of what you hope to get out of the experience. This way, you’ll know whether you’d like more guidance or information, and you can inform the budtender accordingly.
- Check product availability.
You can also choose what you want beforehand and just pick up your order for a quick and smooth in-and-out transaction. Many dispensaries have an online menu where you can choose your product. Perfect for those times when you don’t want to spend much time in the dispensary and you just want a short visit.
The Las Vegas Cannabis Dispensary Experience
Dispensaries have the coolest staff compared to other stores, not to mention the most chill. Some people compare going to a dispensary as similar to buying beer or liquor, but without the grumpy and suspicious salesperson. What you’ll find instead is a budtender who’s willing to discuss with you each strain, its effects, as well as its flavors.
They’ll also describe to you the various methods of consuming them. Budtenders are a fount of information about the marijuana they’re selling you’d think they might have grown the cannabis themselves. And in some cases, yes.
- Security is tight.
If it’s your first in a dispensary, don’t be surprised to see security guards, cameras, and other protective measures in place. Don’t feel intimidated, as this is normal. These measures are for the staff and customers’ protection. If you notice a few security measures in place, relax. Be respectful to everybody, and enjoy your time at the dispensary.
- They offer personalized service.
It’s very common for dispensary visitors to wait to be served, more so in medical marijuana dispensaries. Medical marijuana dispensaries, in many states, are mandated to serve only one patient at a time. So, expect to do a little waiting, particularly when visiting a medical cannabis dispensary.
- Staff members are very knowledgeable.
Staff members of a dispensary are trained to assist all kinds of customers. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask. No question is too mundane, too complex, or too anything. Fire away!
Etiquette To Observe While In A Dispensary
Dispensary visitors dropping in for the first time might wonder about proper dispensary etiquette to follow. Every dispensary is different, but there are general rules you can do to be courteous while in a dispensary. Remember that a dispensary isn’t the same as a regular retail store.
For instance, it’s always polite to give space to your fellow dispensary visitors, especially when they’re ordering. Also, avoid talking on your phone while inside the store, as it can be distracting.
Along with these general etiquette concerns, the dispensary you’re visiting may have its own guidelines. A number of dispensaries, for instance, prohibit taking photos inside the store. They might have their own rules for people who shop there, so if you notice those rules posted inside the dispensary, be sure to abide, like The Dude.
- It’s Okay To Just Look
You’re not obligated to buy anything. It’s okay to just visit and look. You might not be ready yet, or you may be feeling unsure. Or maybe the store isn’t carrying the product you’re looking for. Whatever the case may be, don’t feel you have to buy anything because a staff recommended it. Cannabis isn’t really something you can return to the dispensary. Take all the time you need to decide about buying anything.
- Sampling Cannabis Products In The Dispensary
You’d thinks so, but no. There are no lounges, tasting rooms, or anything else in the dispensary where you can taste a sample of the products. You can sniff, but that’s about it. Once the product is purchased and sealed in its packaging, you’ll be sent on your way.
You also shouldn’t expect any of the staff to suggest, offer, or provide a place to consume your product. What the staff at any of the Las Vegas dispensary would do is make sure you understand the law.
Recreational and medicinal marijuana in Las Vegas may be legal, but the days of lighting up freely in any cafés or restaurants are still in the future. There are still many regulations you have to follow.
As there are many dispensaries in Las Vegas, it pays to do your own research first, especially if it’s your first time. Las Vegas dispensaries each have their own characteristics, but all of them are dedicated towards giving their customers the best cannabis experience.
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