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News Summary

Governor signs bill to allow smoking in standalone bars that serve food

Publication Date: 2011-06-17
  • Author:Cy Ryan
  • Publication:Las Vegas Sun

Despite opposition from health officials, taverns and standalone bars have won the right to permit both smoking and food service under a bill signed into law Friday by Gov. Brian Sandoval.

The new law becomes effective immediately.

Lobbyists for the bar industry told the Legislature taverns have lost a large amount of business since the voter-approved Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act was passed in 2006.

Under Assembly Bill 571, those under 21 will be barred from taverns where food and smoking is permitted.

Health officials battled the bill, saying it was going against the wishes of the public who voted for the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act, which prohibited smoking in a number of areas.

Kendall Stagg, one of the primary backers of the Act, urged Sandoval to veto the bill. He said AB 571 weakens the current law.

"The American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, American Heart Association and the Academy of Family Physicians all agree AB 571 would roll back one of the most successful health policies Nevada has implemented in decades," Stagg said.

Also approved by Sandoval was Assembly Bill 528, which would allow money received from the state medical marijuana program to be used for drug and alcohol treatment.

The money, estimated to be about $700,000 a year, would be transferred to the state Division of Mental Health and Development services to carry out the programs.

The money comes from the $50 application fee to use medical marijuana and from a $150 charge for processing the application.

Some legislators complained that many users must get the drug on the street from illegal sales. A bill was introduced to create a state manufacturing program in Las Vegas to sell marijuana to pharmacies, but it never got out of committee.