Nevada Moves Forward With Recreational Marijuana Program

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Nevada Cleared for Early Sale of Recreational Cannabis

Nevada voters elected to legalize recreational marijuana last November, becoming 1 of 8 states to have ended prohibition. While residents have been legally allowed to possess the plant since January 1st this year, businesses have not been permitted to sell it. The initial date set for selling the plant was set for January 1, 2018. This date has now been pushed forward to July 1, 2017. The Nevada Tax Commission voted 6-1 to allow temporary licenses to be distributed to those in the marijuana industry who have been in good standing for the past 6 months. The licenses will expire once the program officially begins which will give the Department of Taxation time to see if their regulations will work.

Motivation to Start a Temporary Program

nevada stands to make 70 million in tax revenue with cannabis
High tax revenue forecasts have Nevada scrambling to make recreational cannabis available ASAP.

Gov. Brian Sandoval’s 2 year budget has estimated that the industry would bring in approximately $70 million in tax revenue. This has been a big incentive in getting the program started. Tax department director Deonne Contine said, “If we don’t adopt the regulations, we will not have a temporary program. If we don’t have a temporary program, we will not have the revenue that’s included in the governor’s budget.”

Recreational Marijuana License Fees

A lot of the revenue will come from the annual license fees. License application will cost $5000 and then once approved, businesses would be required to pay:

  • $20,000 for a retail license
  • $30,000 for a growing license
  • $10,000 for a manufacturing license
  • $15,000 for a testing license
  • $15,000 for a transport license

While medical marijuana is sold with a 2 percent wholesale tax, recreational marijuana will have a 15 percent wholesale tax placed on it. All in all, the potential revenue is a powerful motivator for lawmakers to get the program set up and functional.

Details of Nevada Cannabis for Recreational Use

designated cannabis smoking areas are expected for tourists
Designated cannabis smoking areas are expected for tourists.

Once Nevada counties have approved their own regulations for selling, retailers will need to get both state and local licenses in order to conduct business. At this point, people will be allowed to buy up to an ounce of marijuana and up to 1/8 of an ounce of concentrates. Residents will also be allowed to grow up to 6 plants for personal use. Las Vegas, Nevada is a hot spot for tourists, and while there will be no marijuana consumption allowed anywhere on the strip, there will most likely be delegated smoking areas nearby where visitors to the state will be allowed to enjoy the luxury of consuming marijuana without interference or worry.

Businesses will be allowed to apply for licenses up until May 31st and licenses will be distributed soon afterwards. For the time being, the federal government seems to be preoccupied with more serious issues such as the current opioid epidemic which is killing thousands of people every year. In states where medical marijuana is present, the epidemic has been reduced by approximately 23 percent. So at this time, Nevada seems to be moving forward with its recreational industry at full speed.

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