This November, Nevada, along with a handful of other states including California and Massachusetts, will be voting on whether to legalize recreational marijuana for adults above the age of 21. If the vote passes, the state will join Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Colorado and D.C. in having legalized recreational marijuana industry. Medical marijuana was legalized in 2000 but it wasn’t until 2013 that dispensaries were legalized. Due to lengthy and often complicated licensing processes, many dispensaries have only opened within the past year. The current medical marijuana infrastructure supports an easier transition and creation of the recreational cannabis industry should the Nevada marijuana laws change this November.
Major Details of Nevada Marijuana Bill
Should the measure pass, adults above the age of 21 would be allowed to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana or 1/8 ounce of concentrated marijuana. The law would become effective on January 1st of 2017. The Nevada Department of Taxation would have to create all the regulations as well as testing processes by the end of 2017. They would also need to enforce protocols to ensure that the plant doesn’t get into the hands of people under the age of 21. While local government can decide on where marijuana related business can set up shop, they can’t ban the plant in and of itself if the law passes. The most recent poll, done in the middle of September by KTNV, indicates that 53 percent of Nevada residents support legalization and 39 percent were against it.
Tax Proceed Projections
The measure would place a 15 percent tax on wholesale marijuana as well as adding sale and use taxes. While an exact figure is impossible to give, Nevada state analysts predict that it will generate approximately $464 million in tax revenue between 2018 and 2024. The income raised through marijuana tax will pay for the administration and regulation costs for the Nevada marijuana industry. The remaining money will go towards the state’s general education fund.
Both Sides of Legalization
The initiative, called the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, is backed by Nevada’s medical marijuana dispensaries and supported by a variety of Democratic state lawmakers. A group called “Protecting Nevada’s Children” came out in opposition against the measure, claiming that it will get into the hands of children. According to all reports from states that have already legalized recreational marijuana, there has been no increase in teen use whatsoever. Nonetheless, the group has been releasing hard hitting warnings about how it will get into the hands of children.
Advocates of the measure are talking about the fact that marijuana is safer and healthier than alcohol and generally harmless. In fact, studies have found that the only physical effects from long term marijuana use is the increased risk of getting gum disease from the smoke. This is an illness that also comes from not flossing. Spending state money on prosecuting and jailing people for such a harmless and low level offence is a waste of state resources. Legalizing it would drive out the black market which are mostly run by cartels. Ultimately, the tax revenue as well as job opportunities and money generated by the Nevada marijuana industry would be highly beneficial to the state.