When Nevada legalized recreational marijuana in 2016, everyone expected it would be big, but maybe not this big. Since the first dispensaries opened last summer, sales and tax revenue have increased at a clip. Within the first three months of 2018, marijuana tax revenue has almost exceeded what they predicted the state would make annually. Here’s a look at the astounding realities of legalization in Nevada, and what the state is doing with its filled coffers.
Nevada Is One of the Biggest Legal Weed Markets
Since the first recreational dispensary opened its doors, Nevada keeps surpassing its own predictions of how big the recreational marijuana market will be. In August of 2017, Nevada sold $33 million in legal marijuana. This was more than Washington, Oregon or even Colorado.
This has translated to a lot of tax revenue. In the first month of legalization alone, the State of Nevada made $3.7 million in taxes. In August alone, it went up to $5 million.
The State Just Broke Its Weed Sales Record
March 2018 broke last August’s record with $41 million in legal marijuana sales. This combines both recreational and marijuana purchases. As a result, the state made $7.09 million in taxes in March alone, according to the Nevada Department of Taxation.
The state taxes a few different aspects of the industry. The most significant source of revenue is the 1o percent retail tax. This is on top of the sales tax. There’s also a wholesale tax of 15 percent on weed, which is paid by the distributor. Broken down, $4.1 million and $2.99 million of March’s tax revenue come from the retail tax and the wholesale tax, respectively.
Here’s How Much Nevada Has Made From Weed So Far
Revenue has surpassed everyone’s predictions. The State expected to make $50.32 million in taxes in the year following legalization. So far, they’ve made $48.97 million, which is an impressive 97 percent of their goal.
Total weed sales are even more staggering. They’ve sold $385.99 million in recreational and medical marijuana combined. $304.73 million of this revenue comes from recreational weed alone.
The state also quantified what sells best. Half of all revenue comes from flower sales, while concentrates represent around a quarter of total earnings and edibles are 13 percent.
Where Is All This Money Going?
Much of it goes to Nevada’s Rainy Day Fund. This is money the state sets aside for emergencies and future projects. The bulk of state revenue, specifically all retail taxes, go into this fund.
Money from the wholesale tax funds city and county governments and supports the marijuana program. Other funds go to helping lower-income kids pay for private universities and the University of Nevada.
The Next Step For Nevada’s Booming Weed Economy
Nevada and its recreational weed market depend largely on tourism. However, there is one problem: Public consumption is technically illegal and you can’t smoke in dispensaries or Nevada’s famous casinos.
For the time being, this means that people can only legally smoke in weed-friendly airb&bs and private parties. These have become an industry in and of itself. But the next step for Nevada’s legal weed market would be legalizing tasting rooms like we’ll soon see in Colorado.
But considering how dramatically Nevada has surpassed marijuana sales predictions, people may not be too concerned about the legality of where they smoke, at least for now.