The pulsating neon beacon of exaggerated architecture, over the top entertainment, sex, sin, sun, and fun that is Las Vegas shines so bright it can been seen from space. This strange desert metropolis acts as something of a magnet for party goers, pleasure seekers, gamblers, dreamers, and escapists. Since the early days of the downtown red-light districts, brothels, and burlesque shows; Las Vegas has always had a hard driving sexual component. As the brothels got chased out of town and into the hinterlands the escort business had no problem picking up the slack. The sex industry in Vegas is a major component of the cities overall economic picture. Factor in the strip clubs, the adult themed shows, the scantly clad waitresses, the Vegas escorts, hookers, call girls, massage parlors, and everything in between. The economic impact on the local Las Vegas economy is staggering. As forward thinking and social evolution would have it, there is a new economic tsunami about to slam into Vegas that is as big if not bigger than the sex industry.
On November 8 2016 the Nevada Marijuana Legalization Initiative, also known as question 2 in reference to its placement on the ballot, was approved by the pot loving Nevada voters. The yes vote in support of the law supported legalizing the recreational use of one ounce or less by individuals 21 years of age and over. Basically Nevada went full recreational legal. The magnitude of the legal pot business in Nevada is not yet realized, but if Colorado is any barometer the impact is going to be enormous. Colorado’s weed business is worth an estimated 2.4 billion per annum. That said, Colorado does not see the 40 million plus tourists a year that Vegas has already. Considering the Las Vegas is already the number one tourist destination in the country, the addition of legal weed to the equation is nothing less than pouring gasoline on an inferno. By midsummer 2017 it is expected that the dispensaries that currently service the Nevada medical marijuana market will see the red tape cut and will for the first time ever have the capacity to sell legal weed to the recreational consumer. It’s going to be a hot, heavy, and high flying summer in Vegas.
Fortunate for everyone involved in both industries, the two businesses are in no way competing against each other, in-fact they are complimentary. The use of marijuana as an aphrodisiac and an enhancement of sexual experience has as much history as the cannabis plant itself. Pleasure seekers in ancient India made use of cannabis in tantric sex rituals. Fast forward to the 19th century and cannabis and sex again finds itself intersecting with Persian prostitutes who were well known users of ganja. The practice shows up in early 20th century Russian traditions of newlywed brides smoking up on their wedding night to “make the loss of their virginity more pleasurable”. The marijuana sex collision takes hold in the United States in the throes of the sexual revolution during the 1960’s. By the 1980’s the medical research field had taken an interest and several studies were conducted concerning the aphrodisiac effects of cannabis on users. The results were good. Participants reported heightened sensitivity, enhanced intimacy, stronger orgasms, and amazing sex in general. In short sex is great, but sex under the influence of cannabis is fantastic. The historical context is vast and the use of cannabis for its sexual enhancement properties is making a resurgence today especially in the fertile states that have rejected prohibition.
So what does it all mean for tourists in Las Vegas? The two industries operating in tandem should result in a pleasure explosion here on the high desert plateau. There really has never been a better time to make the Vegas trip. For visitors who like sex and getting high – Vegas just became paradise.