The number of people ticketed in the Las Vegas area for illegally using marijuana in public pales in comparison to other cities during their first year of legalized pot, according to a News 3 review of legal records.
In Nevada, legal marijuana sales continue to outpace the states that came before it – averaging more than $1 million a day. However, fewer people are getting in trouble for lighting up in public.
During the first year of legal pot, at least 41 people were ticketed in the entire Las Vegas metro area. By comparison, Denver cited 762 people in their first year.
Citations in Nevada can carry a $600 fine for use of marijuana in a public space.
Nevada State Sen. Tick Segerblom said he sees the number of citations issued as a sign that law enforcement is looking the other way when it comes to enforcement.
“Police are trained to let tourists enjoy themselves. If they get too rowdy, they’ll step in. The fact is if they aren’t bothering anybody else, who cares?” said Segerblom, who is often considered the Godfather of the marijuana movement in Nevada.
Before voters legalized recreational pot, opponents feared marijuana would become a public nuisance.
“People do not want to spend $300 for a hotel room at one of our nice properties and then smell marijuana oozing out of their rooms,” Pat Hickey told News 3 in 2016.
One citation was issued when someone smoked marijuana in front of officers at the Bellagio Fountains.
However, marijuana is still banned at casinos and the hotels attached to them – leaving millions of visitors with no place to legally light up.
Segerblom is continuing to push for marijuana lounges, which have been stalled at the local level and state level.
“We need to have places where people can use it socially,” said Segerblom.
News 3 contacted the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department for input on their enforcement policies when it comes to public use of marijuana. However, our calls were not returned as of press time.