State lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow local governments to decide whether adults will be able to use recreational marijuana in public places.
Nevada could soon become the first state to legalize the consumption of marijuana in public places. Senate Bill 236 would allow city and county officials to decide to permit short or long-term pot consumption at casinos, bars, outdoor events and other public places as long as they are not within 1000 feet of a school or community facility.
State law currently restricts the use of both medical and recreational marijuana to private homes.
"We anticipate a lot of marijuana tourism and right now they can come here and purchase it, but there is no place to use it legally because you can only use it in your home and they don't have a home," says Las Vegas Democrat, Senator Tick Segerblom. This will give them a comfort level where you don't have to feel like you're breaking the law every time you smoke a joint or something."
But law enforcement officials are not so keen on the idea. Speaking to lawmakers during the committee hearing, Chuck Callaway of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department says the bill could possibly create a dangerous situation.
"The industry itself has not been regulated but there are lots of things already in place in the medical marijuana industry," says Callaway. "To now leap forward and start looking at businesses that will allow consumption on their property at the local level that I realize this bill is enabling [sic], I think it's getting the cart before the horse."
The bill still needs to receive the approval of the committee before it goes to the full senate for a vote.