Nevada’s marijuana industry is just starting to sprout but it has already raked in $30 million in tax revenue. The Silver State’s business owners have already sold more than $195 million of cannabis in almost half a year of operations in the market.
Together with Maine, California, and Massachusetts, Nevada passed a law that finally legalized recreational cannabis in 2016. But unlike other states, Nevada implemented the preparations six months ahead of the new year.
Fifteen percent of the taxes were charged on wholesale marijuana and ten percent on retail marijuana. Last July 2017, the first month of the recreational sale of cannabis in the market, it already garnered nearly $3.7 million in tax revenue. In October 2017, it hit the peak of approximately $5.84 million.
Cannabis analytic firm, New Frontiers estimates the Silver State’s legal marijuana market to be worth $622 million two years from now.
Much of this feat can be traced backed to the tourist-friendly Las Vegas. The primary commercial airport, the Las Vegas- McCarran International Airport placed more or less 20 marijuana “amnesty boxes” on its premises. These boxes allow tourist to properly and safely dispose their marijuana before hopping on their flights because federal laws prohibit the substance on airport grounds.
There has been a lot of discussion as to where the money would go but so far, the state is sending a great part of it to education. It was reported that other cannabis-friendly states also engage in philanthropic activities with the cash they collect from the tax incurred by the industry.
In Colorado, the tax gathered from wholesale marijuana sales are allocated for the funding of a public school. Furthermore, the state uses the tax money for treating and rehabilitating patients that suffered substance abuse, regulatory oversight, and programs for preventing the youth to use drugs.
The booming cannabis industry in Colorado generated more than expected tax revenue and the state government is allocating some of the excess funds to help the homeless.
The quickly developing marijuana industry’s huge amount of revenue that is used for funding social initiatives in the local community inspired other states to legalize adult use cannabis.
There is an ongoing debate in Connecticut regarding the possibility that when marijuana is legalized, tax revenues would be able to balance their budget. Governor Dannel Malloy considers this possibility although his ideals are geared towards opposing the legalization of cannabis.
However, according to Andrew Freedman, Colorado’s first marijuana czar, tax revenue should not be a factor in marijuana legalization. He said, “People truly overestimate what you can do with marijuana money.” He added that “At the end of the day, the debate shouldn’t be about the tax revenue. ‘Should we lock up fewer people for marijuana?’ vs. ‘Is this going to create more of a burden to public safety?’ – that’s where the debate should be.”