Las Vegas Sun

February 21, 2018

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Nevada marijuana tax brings in $5.8 million in October

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L.E. Baskow

Many customers waiting in a long line at Reef Dispensaries wear weed-related items as recreational sales of marijuana begin at Midnight in Nevada and dispensaries across Las Vegas are open too on Friday, June 30, 2017.

Tax proceeds on Nevada’s marijuana sales is continuing an upward trajectory, establishing a new monthly high in October during the fourth month of the state’s recreational marijuana program, officials announced Wednesday.

The industry brought in more than $5.8 million in October, which includes a 15-percent wholesale tax for both medical and recreational pot, and a 10-percent excise tax on recreational weed sales, the Nevada Department of Taxation said. That’s up from about $4.7 million in September, $4.8 million in August and $3.6 million in July for a total of about $19 million.

“We’re pleased that we’re tracking very closely with projections,” said Stephanie Klapstein, spokeswoman for the taxation department. “We’re actually a little ahead.”

October’s figures for both the 15 percent wholesale tax — which charges Nevada cultivation and production facilities for transporting the plant to local dispensaries —was nearly $3.8 million, while the 10 percent excise tax was just over $2 million. Each category represented all-time highs.

Gov. Brian Sandoval’s office projected an average of $5 million per month would be raised from the two tax sources from July 2017 to July 2019, resulting in a total of $120 million over that 24-month span. The projections estimated the first six months of recreational pot sales would bring significantly less than that average, though, counting on the final six months in 2019 to be the largest revenue raising.

Nevada State Sen. Tick Segerblom, who championed marijuana legislation, said the early numbers were “encouraging,” and he expected monthly tax revenue to exceed $10 million by 2019.

Per Nevada law, revenue from the wholesale tax is allocated to fund state and local government regulation of the industry, and what’s left is deposited into the Distributive School Account. Revenue from the excise tax is deposited in the Nevada Rainy Day Fund.

Editor’s note: Brian Greenspun, the CEO, publisher and editor of the Las Vegas Sun, has an ownership interest in Essence Cannabis Dispensary.