Q: How do you make Vegas even better?
A: You add weed.
Legal adult marijuana sales will begin in Nevada on July 1, 2017, making it the fifth state in the nation to establish a regulated marijuana market for adults.
Beginning at 12:01 a.m. PT, adults 21 and older with a valid ID will be able to purchase up to one ounce of marijuana or one-eighth of an ounce of marijuana-infused edibles or concentrates from licensed marijuana retail outlets. Lines are expected outside some dispensaries in Las Vegas and other cities.Retail marijuana sales will be subject to a 10 percent sales tax, which state officials estimate will generate more than $60 million in the first two years. Nevada sales should eventually exceed those in Colorado, Oregon and Washington state because of the 45 million tourists who annually visit Las Vegas, reports Scott Sonner at The Associated Press.
Regulators anticipate 63 percent of customers will be tourists.
“I don’t think we’ve ever seen anything quite like what Nevada is going to look like just because of the sheer volume of tourism in the state,” said Nancy Whiteman, co-owner of the Colorado-based Wana Brands, which makes edible cannabis products.“The marijuana prohibition era is finally coming to an end in Nevada,” said Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project. MPP backed Question 2, the initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol that was approved by approximately 54.5 percent of Nevada voters in November. MPP had supported similar, unsuccessful initiatives in Nevada in 2002 and 2006.
“Adults will now be able to purchase marijuana similarly to how they purchase alcohol, from regulated businesses rather than criminals in the illegal market,” Tvert said. “Nevadans voted for safer communities, new tax revenue, and a more sensible marijuana policy. That is exactly what they are going to get.”
Question 2 required the state to initiate adult sales by January 1, 2018, but the Nevada Tax Commission adopted temporary regulations allowing sales to begin six months earlier through existing licensed medical marijuana outlets. It’s the fastest turnaround from the ballot box to retail sales of any state where marijuana is legal.Marijuana possession has been legal for adults 21 and older since Question 2 took effect on January 1, 2017.
Nevada is one of eight states that have enacted laws to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana for adult use. Regulated adult marijuana sales are currently taking place in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, and they are expected to commence next year in California, Maine, and Massachusetts. A petition drive to place a similar proposal on the November 2018 ballot is currently underway in Michigan.
“Legal marijuana sales in Nevada are going to accelerate growth in public support for ending marijuana prohibition,” Tvert said. “Tens of millions of visitors per year from all over the U.S. and around the world will see firsthand that regulating marijuana works. What happens in Vegas will stay in Vegas, but what is learned about marijuana in Vegas will be shared with everyone back home.”