In news that will surprise approximately zero percent of the nation, it turns out Nevada and legal recreational marijuana really do make a very good match.
Recreational marijuana sales in the Silver State crossed the $126 million mark in October, just four months after they began on July 1, 2017, according to numbers from the Nevada Department of Taxation.
That number blows Colorado out of the water. Colorado, which famously began sales of legal adult-use marijuana in 2014, saw about $22.5 million in sales in its first four months.
What’s more, the Nevada state government is also bringing in cash at a rate that will no doubt catch the eye of politicians in places such as Illinois and New York, where some officials are pushing for legalization of marijuana to help offset budget deficits.
With huge legal marijuana markets about to open in California and Massachusetts, that argument is going to get even stronger.
October Biggest Month Yet
In October, cannabis sales in Nevada reached $37.9 million, the biggest of the four months since sales started.
That’s a large jump over the $27 million in September and more than the $33.4 million August, when Henderson, a city near Las Vegas, began allowing sales of adult-use marijuana within the city limits. Total sales in July alone – more than $27 million – eclipsed those in Colorado over the first four months.
Extrapolating the monthly average over an entire year, that’s a $378 million annual industry in Nevada. But here’s the catch: That number is probably low, considering sales seem to be accelerating.
The state of Nevada also is doing quite well with taxes and fees in connection with legalized cannabis. The state charges a 15 percent tax on marijuana sales, with the money going into a fund for education. There is also a 10 percent tax that goes into the state’s “rainy day” fund.
In the four months that ended in October, the state collected $19 million. Almost $6 million of that was in October alone.
Nevada officials have already projected that the 15 percent tax will bring in about $56 million over the first two years of recreational sales. That means they are anticipating even higher monthly sales figures going forward.
That’s good news for the Nevada government and for marijuana entrepreneurs. And those in the business in Nevada told the Las Vegas Review-Journal they are not concerned with adult-use sales beginning in nearby California in January. They expect business from tourists and state residents to continue at or surpass the current rate.
Their biggest concern? U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recent crackdown against marijuana sales.
It’s probably also no surprise that Nevada officials slightly over-projected numbers. It is, after all, home to Las Vegas and millions of tourists.