The first year of legalized recreational cannabis sales in Nevada exceeded even the highest expectations, according to the state’s regulators and industry insiders. The sales and tax collections had surpassed the state’s year-end projections by 25 percent.
Andrew Jolley, the president of the Nevada Dispensary Association, said that the state’s broad legalization of cannabis has been “a huge success.”
While the figures from June are still outstanding, they are expected to push the state’s taxable sales past the $500-million mark, netting total tax revenue of around $70 million. About $25 million of this net tax revenue will be devoted to schools.
Nevada has experienced a legal hiccup involving distribution licenses last July. However, the $195 million in sales for the first six months of legal retail operations in the state has surpassed Washington’s first-six-months figure of $67 million and Colorado’s $114 million. Washington and Colorado kicked off legal cannabis sales in 2014.
The 10 percent retail tax that is levied only on recreational sales is alloted for the state’s rainy day fund, and this totalled $26.5 million through May. Meanwhile, money generated from the 15 percent wholesale tax applicable only to medical use, which totalled about $24 million through May, will go to schools, but only after about one-third has covered local and state administrative costs.
This means that about $25 million in wholesale revenue that is anticipated for the first full year of cannabis sales will be shared by schools located in the state’s 17 counties. The shares will be based on enrollment, so $17 million is likely headed to Las Vegas and the surrounding Clark County. Meanwhile, the remaining $8 million will be divided among the other counties, with $5 million possibly going to Washoe County, which includes Reno and Sparks.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Nevada Taxation Department Director William Anderson said that Nevada is viewed by many as “being the gold standard.”
Despite cannabis supporters saying that Nevada’s broad legalization of cannabis is relatively smooth-sailing, there are those who insist that more can be done.
Some medical cannabis patients contend that they were better off before the state approved the legalization of recreational pot.
Additionally, tourists still have no place to legally smoke weed.
Meanwhile, opponents remain skeptical about the impact of recreational cannabis legalization on children.
According to Douglas County School Superintendent Teri White, her district near Carson City experienced more problems with pot during the first three months of the school year compared to what she had experienced in her whole career as an educator.
Meanwhile, Principal Kevin Lords of Churchill County High School in rural Fallon estimated that pot use among students has tripled in his district. This includes cases of edibles that are being distributed by adults.
The state’s Public Safety Department will be releasing early trends data in the next few weeks.