Nevada is one of a mere 8 states where recreational marijuana is legal, the other 7 being Oregon, Colorado, Washington, Massachusetts, Maine, Alaska and California. The marijuana industry is estimated to be worth $50 billion in the USA in total, with black markets sale making up the majority of this estimate. But as marijuana gets legalized, legitimate businesses and State as well as Federal bank accounts are going to take bigger slices of this $50 billion pie. One of the main reasons there is such widespread acceptance of cannabis is for the substantial amounts of revenue that can be generated from the plant (Though the main reason is that it can save lives and alleviate suffering from multiple types of conditions). At this stage, states who are not quick to legalize marijuana are losing out big time. Though thereare many societal, economic and environmental considerations to take into account when accessing marijuana implementation, the rewards will accrue to those who took the risk and went into the market early.
Nevada Revenues Exploding
One state which got in relatively early is Nevada, having its first month of legal recreational marijuana just this July. In its first month, the total amount of tax generated from recreational and medical marijuana is just shy of $4 million. And this number is expected to increase as more people buy cannabis and become aware of its benefits, as well as attain licenses of various kinds. Aside from taxation, additional tourism will generate more in tax revenue and related expenditures, projected to total $120 million. Nevada currently has two forms of taxation on marijuana, a 10% retail tax and a 15% wholesale tax on cultivators. Aside from revenue the Department of Revenue of Nevada has stated that $6.5 million has been raised in license and application fees.
Nevada is also currently considering opening “pot lounges”. This isdeemed necessary due to the fact that tourists visiting Vegas and other areas can legally purchase marijuana yet do not have anywhere they can legally smoke it. This does make sense and a lot of business owners in the region are all for the idea as it would increase revenue and fulfill a genuine need. Why purchase marijuana if you can only smoke it in your apartment instead of in a nice outlet?
But others are suggesting that it is all happening a little too fast. Marijuana lounges might be a little ambitious given that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is eagerly awaiting to clamp down on any infringements so he can enforce his anti-marijuana crusade. The lounges will provide him with a perfect excuse, and it is up to the Clark County region to decide if it wants to pass marijuana lounge legislation and take the risk. There is also the current obstacle of procedures and guidelines, which would have to be created in relation to marijuana lounges. How marijuana would be distributed and kept away from teenagers and in what vicinity the lounge extended to would all have to be answered. According to Nevada governor Brian Sandoval:
I think it’s way too early to be doing something like that. I think it’s important that we continue to see how the sale of recreational marijuana evolves.
While Nevada will have to figure out its position in relation to marijuana lounges, all eyes are on California and its legalization of marijuana coming on the Second of January 2018. California supply and demand is larger than any other state and there is a huge rush to get the procedures and the infrastructure in place for this deadline. Legal sales of marijuana in California is expected to generate in the region of $5 billion next year. California is setting the scene for marijuana legalization in general, with a population who are very progressive and pro marijuana. But on the other hand there are numerous difficulties propping up, from illegal growing operations to black market sales to the regulatory and certification infrastructure. The implementation of marijuana is most certainly not without its share of problems and it is causing quite a headache for administrative officials. Many states are waiting to see how California gets on before they implement their own policies
In a similar fashion, Canada has run into huge difficulties in trying to fulfill its promise of recreational marijuana legalization next year, with politicians finding it hard to back up their campaign promises. While California is setting the stage for state legalization in America, Canada is setting the scene for legalization at the international level. But so far it is a poor show.