LAS VEGAS – The Clarke County Board of County Commissioners in Las Vegas, Nevada, approved a zoning ordinance that will allow dispensaries to operate drive-thru windows for cannabis sales. Though the plan was underway prior to the onset of social distancing brought about by COVID-19, its implementation was expedited due to the pandemic.
“It’s good in the short term because of the pandemic,” said County Commissioner Tick Segerblom. “It avoids people having to get out of the car and go inside—no personal touching—so both the employees and the customer are really protected. But ultimately, I think it just makes it more convenient for everybody, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Segerblom has been a high-profile supporter of legalization and was the first customer in Nevada to legally purchase recreational cannabis when sales became legal in 2017. He believes the new ordinance will attract more businesses to the area.
“There are going to be a lot of new dispensaries built,” Segerblom said. “So, it’s good to have this rule in place so when they build them they’ll already have drive-thru in their plans.”
One dispensary in northern Las Vegas, THRIVE Cannabis Marketplace, already is serving customers via drive-thru. Like curbside pickup or delivery, customers utilizing Thrive’s drive-thru services are able to prepay and place their orders online.
“Previously, the drive-thru was not permitted until North Las Vegas allowed us to do so,” said Ashley Blackwood, director of compliance at Thrive. “I would say about 40 percent of our business is currently going through the drive-thru. It’s much easier for people, it’s much safer, and it provides a nice alternative for someone who’s very busy.”
While some dispensaries may lack the available space to launch drive-thru services, Blackwood believes that operators who are in a position to do so should consider implementing the change.
“If they have the space and their building allows for it, I would highly recommend it,” Blackwood said. “It’s been a wonderful way to do business for us, and our customers and patients absolutely love it. Not only do they feel safe, but they’re able to get through the transactions much more quickly.”