Each year, the state of Nevada hosts more than 40 million visitors, many of whom come to gamble or see spectacular shows in Vegas. Others take in the spectacular views of Lake Tahoe, choose a golf outing, or come to hike the incredible desert canyons.
Now, there’s a new reason to visit Nevada. The state government is planning to cater to its visitors, and even attract a few more tourists, with a new initiative: marijuana tourism.
According to USA Today, Nevada will begin offering medical marijuana to tourists who hold a medical marijuana card from their home state as soon as early next year.
Nevada certainly wouldn’t be the first state to honor other states’ legalization of medical marijuana — Rhode Island and Maine similarly allow out-of-staters to legally purchase marijuana if they come from one of the 23 states that allow it. But neither of those states bring in quite as many tourists as Las Vegas does.
“It is a city of recreation, the city that invented the $5,000 bottle of vodka,” said Derek Peterson, CEO of Terra Tech, which has so far secured eight licenses for marijuana dispensaries throughout Nevada. “It’s the adult playground in the United States. That’s Las Vegas’s model.”
In order to buy marijuana in Nevada, tourists will need to provide a valid medical marijuana card or a recommendation note from their doctor. However, according to USA Today, the state doesn’t have a system that can check the validity of these cards.
“Tourism is a great opportunity to try Medical Marijuana legally as a clinical trial to determine whether the patient would benefit,” explains Dr. David Imrie of the Medical Marijuana Association. “Fortunately, with the speed with which Medical Marijuana is being legalized in each state, tourism for this purpose will have a short life.” Dr D.
The marijuana tourism industry has gained momentum due to the fact that every patient using medical marijuana in states where it’s legal is still technically violating federal law, which still states that marijuana possession and use is illegal. In addition, it’s illegal to consume any legally purchased marijuana in a state where it hasn’t been legalized yet.
So if a person who uses medical marijuana to treat chronic pain, nausea, loss of appetite and even the affects of chemotherapy and HIV/AIDS wants to travel out-of-state, he or she will have to do so without any marijuana on his or her person.
This makes destinations like Las Vegas highly attractive to people who depend on medical marijuana for their various ailments. Marijuana tourism allows them to travel without having to worry about their health.