Home to the world’s two largest cannabis dispensaries, 68 total cannabis stores, over 170 flower strains, and countless other weed products, Las Vegas has all but fulfilled its “Amsterdam on steroids” billing.
Right now, there are no consumption lounges for adults to legally consume outside of their homes, but there are plenty of larger-than-life dispensaries, eccentric 420-friendly accommodations, and convenient legal drive-throughs, making Sin City a must-see hotspot for cannabis tourism.
Below, check out our weed-friendly guide to Las Vegas.
Cannabis laws in Nevada
State-licensed dispensaries and dispensaries on federally-recognized tribal land are the only legal ways to buy cannabis in Nevada. Adults 21 years of age and older can purchase up to 1 ounce (28 grams) of cannabis flower or up to an eighth-ounce (3.5 grams) of the THC equivalent of cannabis concentrates, edibles, and other weed infused products per day. Buyers must show a passport or ID to prove their age before purchase, and you can only consume the plant at private residences.
Nevada is currently finalizing licensing for cannabis lounges, where consumers can legally smoke the plant at a licensed business, not unlike drinking at a bar. But these 420 lounges won’t open until June 2023 at the very earliest. However, the Vegas Tasting Room is one exception — the small venue inside a tribal dispensary just north of downtown Las Vegas offers limited seating for NuWu Cannabis Marketplace customers to sample products.
Dispensaries can legally deliver recreational cannabis, but only to private residences. Of the 68 operating dispensaries in the Vegas Valley, 48 offer delivery.
Casino-resorts and most hotels still ban weed since it’s federally illegal and smoking and driving is against the law. Local authorities recently promised to crack down on weed DUIs in the wake of an increasing number of related arrests.
While Nevada allows adults to grow up to six cannabis plants per person — or 12 plants per household — it’s only legal for those who live more than 25 miles from the nearest dispensary. Just about all Las Vegas visitors will have a dispensary within a couple of miles from where they’re staying, so the home-grow exception won’t apply.
Where to find the best dispensaries in Las Vegas
While county officials have banned dispensaries on the Las Vegas Strip, and none of the casino-hotels allow weed inside, the Strip is still a great place to start. Most of the best and biggest dispensaries have completely surrounded the area, getting as close to Las Vegas Boulevard as possible in the hopes of winning business from the city’s 45 million annual patrons.
Planet 13 houses the world’s largest cannabis store at 16,500 square feet, but that’s just scratching the surface of what the 112,000-square-foot mega-complex has to offer.
Visitors to this immersive entertainment venue can watch culinary pros craft cannabis edibles and a variety of other goodies from close range. You’ll also notice a towering machine blasting bubbly cannabis soda into rows of rainbow-colored plastic bottles, lined up neatly on a winding conveyer belt.
And don’t miss the light sensors that splash digital water droplets around your feet, the gigantic drone orbs that float around the ceiling, and the Mexican restaurant that provides excellent munchies.
Visit Planet 13
Cookies on the Strip
Cookies on the Strip is one of two Cookies stores in Vegas, both of which have opened in the past 24 months. Despite its name, the popular dispensary is not officially on the Strip, but it’s pretty darn close, kitty-corner from the Sahara Las Vegas casino on the northernmost point of the Strip.
Visit Cookies on the Strip
Jardin embodies Vegas-style glitz and glamor perhaps better than any other weed store in town. This east Las Vegas dispensary hires dancers (fully clothed) from gentlemens’ clubs to double as budtenders. Jardin regularly welcomes iconic rappers for customer meet-and-greets; visitors include Snoop Dogg, 2 Chainz, Rick Ross, Jadakiss, Boosie Badazz, and Anderson Paak, among others.
Exhale emphasizes the medical aspect of cannabis, even for recreational buyers. Many of its budtenders work in different horticulture and medical research jobs, and the team takes pride in explaining the value of the entourage effect to countless customers every day.
Exhale lies west of the Strip, across the street from the famous Palms Casino Resort.
NuWu Cannabis Marketplace
Owned-and-operated by the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe, the 1,200 square-foot Vegas Tasting Room lounge offers small samples of a few dozen NuWu products, including flower, concentrates, vape cartridges, and even THC-infused beer. The brand also pioneered the cannabis drive-through — it opened the first one in Vegas back in 2017.
The venue has sporadically closed for extended periods on and off over the past three years, call ahead before going.
420-friendly accommodations in Las Vegas
Short-term rental sites like Airbnb and Vrbo offer a smorgasbord of 420-friendly properties, but the list is constantly evolving.
Renting rooms or houses
This weed-friendly palace in the desert is conveniently located near the Vegas airport, two miles west of the Strip, and claims to have room for 14 visitors. It’s a 2,600-square-foot property with four bedrooms, arcade-style video game machines, pool table, gaming table, darts ,and a giant backyard complete with a pool, diving board, and fire pit. At over $400 per night (before fees), it requires a large group to make the final per-person price worth it.
If you’re want something more low-key, check out TravelTHC’s 420-friendly list of accommodations in and around Las Vegas.
Weed-friendly hostels and hotels are significantly more difficult to come by, even in Vegas. But one soon-to-open cannabis-friendly hotel plans to buck the trend.
The Lexi Las Vegas — formerly known as the Artisan —is a 64-room hotel with a rich history. Opened in 1980, it has long branded itself as a “mischievous alternative” to the bigger casino-resorts, even as hands changed several times over the years.
Guests in all 16 rooms on Lexi’s fourth floor will be allowed to consume weed. The rooms on that floor will feature special ventilation systems to keep the air smelling reasonably fresh.
Things to do while high in Las Vegas
There’s plenty of entertainment, amusement, and good eats around Las Vegas.
A weed-themed sandwich chain, Cheba Hut comes through when the munchies inevitably hit. Its three Vegas locations feature over 25 different sandwiches with names like Chronic and Sensi Kush.
Even better: they all have bars featuring drinks designed to help with cotton mouth.
AREA15 — Meow Wolf’s Omega Mart
A stroll through Area15, especially Meow Wolf’s Omega Mart, is the ultimate sensory experience.
Billed as an immersive entertainment venue, Area15 offers exotic art shows, VR experiences, axe throwing, and even a flight simulator. One of those venues, Meow Wolf, takes visitors through a mind-bending mesh of kaleidoscopic art in a faux grocery store, Omega Mart, that’s every bit as unpredictable as it is unique.
Red Rock Canyon
Red Rock Canyon offers the best natural scenery and hiking in the area. One of its most popular trails, the 3.25-mile Kraft Mountain Loop, features a beautiful mix of iron-blushed sandstone and gray limestone that is a short 30-minute drive west from the Strip.
Featuring over 250 vintage Las Vegas casino and resort signs, the Neon Museum is ideal for visiting after sunset when the signs are lit. The place is unique and artsy, a perfect way to be wowed and inspired while stoned.
Rides and attractions
The SlotZilla Zoomline on Fremont Street and the Strat’s Big Shot ride are not for the faint of heart, but offer an incredible way for thrill-seekers to get an adrenaline fix while high.
The Zoomline takes guests on a quarter-mile flight over downtown Vegas’ main tourist area, while the Big Shot drops patrons 160 feet from one of the tallest points in the city near the Strip — proceed with caution.
Las Vegas Cannabis Tours is a leader in guided cannabis excursions, and the most legitimate company that’s still in business. Formed after the pandemic, it offers rides in bright green Mercedes-Benz G-Wagons to some of the city’s most popular dispensaries.
Most tours are customizable, but the base deal includes stops at Planet 13, Jardin, and NuWu for $85 per person. Other packages include a smoke sesh at the Vegas Tasting Room for $125 per person, and an extended “behind-the-scenes” dispensary tour complete with a gift bag for $175.
It also offers weed-themed weddings at Planet 13, which includes walking down the aisle in one of the venue’s flowering rooms.
What’s the difference between recreational and medical cannabis?
Recreational cannabis is available for adults aged 21 and up. Medical cannabis is only for registered patients. You’ll need a medical card to buy medical cannabis in Las Vegas, which you likely won’t have if you’re only visiting. You need to be 21 and have an ID to buy recreational cannabis, which are both very likely if you’re reading this.
What’s a budtender and what’s the rule on tipping?
Budtenders are dispensary employees who serve as resources for everything you want to know about cannabis products.
Tipping is definitely a good idea, but the exact amount isn’t as cut-and-dry as in other industries. Las Vegas budtenders are among the most hospitable of those in any city across the country, so take note of any useful tips or advice that lead to your purchase and tip accordingly. Most budtenders generally appreciate a 5 – 10% tip.
What can I expect at the dispensary?
Vegas dispensaries may feel like walking into the lobby of a medical clinic. You’ll see a desk, a receptionist to check you in, and perhaps a bunch of other customers waiting around in chairs. Don’t be alarmed; you’re at the right place. State law requires Vegas dispensaries to store cannabis products out of sight from the building’s front door and outside windows, so every dispensary in the city will have a waiting room or lobby that you pass through before going into the actual shopping area.
The receptionist will ask for your ID. Dispensaries are not legally required to take down your information, but most do in order to cover their tracks in case state inspectors stop by. You might have to fill out a consent form, though that’s becoming less common.
When it’s your turn, a budtender will meet you at the entrance to the shopping area. They’ll escort you inside and be available to answer any questions you might have. From there, it’s like shopping anywhere else: products sit on display in jars, on shelves, or behind glass cases. When you decide what you want, let your budtender know and they’ll bring it behind the counter for you to purchase.
How much cannabis can I buy?
You can legally buy up to one ounce of cannabis flower or up to an eighth-ounce of the THC equivalent of cannabis concentrates, edibles, and other weed infused products per day as a recreational buyer in Las Vegas.
You’re not allowed to stockpile. If a police officer catches you with more than the daily limit in your possession, you can face a minimum $600 fine and a misdemeanor citation. So use up most of your weed before hitting the dispensary to buy more.
Federal law prohibits crossing state lines with cannabis, even from one weed-legal state to another. What happens in Vegas has to stay in Vegas, at least when it comes to cannabis.
Are dispensaries still cash-only or can I use a card? What about other forms of payment, like Apple Pay?
Dispensaries have explored all kinds of ways to move away from cash. But as long as weed is federally illegal, card payment will be tricky.
The majority of Las Vegas dispensaries accept debit cards, but not credit or Apple Pay, and they run the debit cards as “cashless ATM” transactions through your bank. Essentially, handheld card readers at dispensary registers disguise your weed purchase as a cash withdrawal.
The tricky part? Weed receipts rarely land on even dollar figures after taxes, but most ATMs force customers to round to the nearest $10 or $20. So when someone buys an eighth-ounce of bud for $32.66, they have to pay $40 through their debit card, only to get $7.34 in cash back from the budtender at the register. Dispensaries normally round up to the nearest dollar, then tack on ATM fees ranging from $2 to $5.
In short, cash is still your best bet.
Can I buy from multiple dispensaries on the same day?
Yes, as long as you’re under the daily purchase limit or you avoid buying from the same dispensary chain.
There’s no state tracking system for recreational cannabis buyers, meaning one store won’t know if you’ve already been to another store. However, If you’re buying from multiple stores owned by the same parent company, they’ll likely have a record of you and your purchases in their systems.
Where can I use cannabis in Las Vegas?
Right now, you can smoke cannabis at private residences. All public places — such as parks, campgrounds, and national forests — are off-limits, as are bars, coffee houses, casino-hotels, and the dispensary where you bought the weed. Cannabis consumption lounges are scheduled to open soon, but that won’t happen until June at the very earliest. Though no one would question if you popped an edible before walking down the Strip.
Avoid using weed before or while driving — DUIs are abundant in Las Vegas and there’s no shortage of police officers ready to pull over stoned drivers.
Featured image by Sung Shin on Unsplash