Las Vegas’ Newest Cannabis Hotel Could be Violating Nevada Law

Posted on: May 26, 2023, 11:48h. 

Last updated on: May 30, 2023, 02:31h.

When the Lexi, a hotel promoting itself as “Las Vegas’ first cannabis-inclusive property,” opens on Friday, June 2, the question is whether it will operate legally.

artist’s rendering of the Lexi.
An artist’s rendering of the Lexi. The nongaming hotel, formerly known as the Artisan, was acquired by Phoenix-based Elevations Hotels and Resorts for $11.9 million in March 2022. Image: Elevations Hotels)

The 64-room nongaming hotel just off the Las Vegas Strip will permit and even encourage cannabis smoking in each of its 22 fourth-floor guest rooms, which will be equipped with state-of-the-art air filters specifically for this purpose.

Only guests staying in those rooms can consume cannabis on the property, according to the FAQ page on the Lexi’s website, and all guests will be asked to present a valid ID proving they’re at least 21 years old upon entry. In addition, by law, no cannabis can be sold at the Lexi. It can’t be delivered to the property, and smoking in common areas is prohibited.

“The Lexi operates in accordance with all local and state laws,” the FAQ claims.

At issue is whether state and local laws consider a hotel room to be private or public property. Marijuana can only be consumed inside a private dwelling or business with a cannabis consumption lounge license, according to the Nevada law that legalized recreational cannabis.

Nevada voters passed recreational cannabis laws in November 2016.

Skirting the Law

None of these lounges are open yet except for the Vegas Tasting Room at NuWu Cannabis Marketplace, which has skirted regulations since it opened in 2019 because it sits on tribal land about two miles North of Fremont Street.

But the Lexi wouldn’t qualify to open a cannabis lounge anyway. Though it originally announced plans to open one on its ground floor, those plans were quickly scrapped when its owners learned that Nevada law prohibits cannabis consumption lounges within 1,500 feet of a casino. The Palace Station sits less than 1,500 feet from the Lexi.

According to the city of Las Vegas, the Lexi’s owners didn’t even bother applying for a lounge license.

Elevations invested more than $15 million to purchase and renovate the 1.3-acre Artisan Hotel at 1501 W. Sahara Ave., which the Siegel Group bought out of foreclosure in 2010.

So are Hotel Rooms Private or Public?

“I think most people would argue that hotel rooms are public places that are open for business for the public to rent those rooms,” Amanda Connor, an attorney with Connor & Connor, a Nevada firm specializing in cannabis law, told KLAS-TV.  

If it is determined that laws are being broken by the Lexi, it’s not clear whether the hotel, its customers, or both, would be held accountable.

A representative for the Lexi didn’t return repeated emails seeking comment.