Question 2 passed in November last year, legalizing recreational marijuana in Nevada. Voters elected to end prohibition in the state and lawmakers have decided to fast track the infrastructure of the new industry into place, well ahead of the deadlines initially represented in the measure. Gov. Brian Sandoval has made the tax revenue from recreational marijuana sales an important part of the annual budget with tax revenue being estimated to generate approximately $70 million which will go into public education. Clearly there is a benefit to the community in getting the industry set up and flowing as soon as possible and lawmakers in the state are making this happen.
The Specifics of Nevada’s Question 2
The law allows people over the age of 21 to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana or 1/8 of an ounce of concentrate for personal use. As it stands, it is not yet legal to buy or sell marijuana though. Regulations must first be written in order to begin issuing retail licenses to potential recreational marijuana businesses. This is something that often takes up to a year to craft, but Nevada officials have found a way to speed up this process.
Systematically Fast Tracking Marijuana Legislation
Sandoval has put together a 16 person task force who are in charge of putting regulations together with the help of local government as well as public health and safety officials. The group will meet monthly until April and submit a report in May. The hope is to be able to have draft of the permanent regulations ready for the Legislative Counsel Bureau to be able to review by July with a public workshop in the fall and adoption in December. Officials will be using their current, functional medical marijuana regulations along with Colorado’s recreational marijuana regulations as a guideline.
How Medical Marijuana Figures Into the Equation
Temporary regulations will be put in place by July 1st that will allow current medical marijuana dispensaries who are in good standing with the state to be able to sell recreational marijuana. According to ReviewJournal.com a public workshop will be held mid-March followed by an adoption hearing May 8th which will take place at the Nevada Tax Commission Hearing. Applications for temporary licenses will start to be accepted in May with licenses being issued starting July 1st. The licenses will be valid until December 31st or 30 days following the establishment of permanent regulations, whichever date comes first.
The Factor of Price
Joe Pollock, a deputy administrator with the Division of Public and Behavioral Health believes that if the price difference between medical and recreational marijuana is kept under control, along with how much marijuana can be grown from home, then the medical marijuana program can continue to grow. Price is an important factor in discussions since industry consultants have stated that it will determine how effectively the black market can be snuffed out. According to Jacob Rowberry, a consultant with the Denver-based Marijuana Policy Group, price is dependent on what people are willing to pay. ”It’s good old supply and demand at the end of the day,” Rowberry points out. “It’s the businesses out there and then the consumer. Ultimately, it’s the consumer at the end of the day that decides if they want to pay that price.”
At any rate, officials seem to be working hard to build the best industry in the quickest possible time. All eyes are on Nevada’s aggressive establishment of regulations as other states struggle to put an infrastructure in place against looming deadlines.