Cannabis Lounges Now Allowed In South Lake Tahoe

Cannabis Lounges Now Allowed In South Lake Tahoe
Cannabis Lounges Now Allowed In South Lake Tahoe
The ordinances passed at City Council Tuesday night, Jan. 23 will allow cannabis consumption lounges in South Lake Tahoe.
Katelyn Welsh / Tahoe Daily Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – City Council conducted their final action allowing cannabis lounges in the city at their meeting Tuesday night.

The ordinances allowing cannabis lounges passed unanimously in the consent agenda with Mayor Cody Bass’s recusal, due to a financial interest in the cannabis industry.

This was the second reading of the ordinance. The first reading occurred at the last meeting after being postponed twice. The council is required to vote on an ordinance twice before it can become law.

One public commenter expressed concerns of driver impairment and requested more substantial and binding wording to the ordinance’s, “Employees must cut off service to impaired customers and provide an option for a safe ride home, such as a shuttle, taxi, or ride-share service.”

In the last meeting on Jan. 9, Councilmember John Friedrich said that a safe ride home provision doesn’t even exist for bars in the city.

Councilmember Scott Robbins addressed this as well after Tuesday night’s meeting in a video on social media, saying for perspective on the impaired driving concern, there are around 180 bars in South Lake Tahoe, compared to handful of cannabis dispensaries in the city that will likely have lounges, “I don’t think this is the end of the world.”

In the last council meeting, Councilmember Cristi Creegan voted no on the ordinance amendments, noting she was representing the 31% of the community opposed, measured in a poll. Her reason for voting for it at this meeting within the consent agenda is the council as a whole approving it. She says she made her position and reasoning clear during the first reading, but “I stand behind council’s decisions, even when I am in the minority.” 

Ordinances are effective 30 days after adoption. City Attorney Heather Stroud says before conducting an on-site consumption area, businesses need to apply for a amended Public Safety License, as well as an amended Cannabis Use Permit if the previously approved retail floor area is being expanded.

She expects the city to start accepting applications when the ordinance becomes effective Feb. 22.



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