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August 15, 2018

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Nevada marijuana tax revenue blows past 12-month projections

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John Locher / AP

In this July 1, 2017 file photo, a customer buys marijuana at the Essence cannabis dispensary in Las Vegas.

Tax revenue from marijuana sales in Nevada surpassed official projections for the first year of recreational sales in just 10 months, according to new figures released Thursday by the Nevada Department of Taxation.

Authorities said $6.55 million in state marijuana tax was raised in April, putting Nevada at $55.53 million in total tax collections since recreational marijuana sales began on July 1, 2017. That exceeds the initial 12-month projection of $50.3 million through July 1, 2018.

“Both taxes that contribute to that total have substantially outperformed projections,” said Bill Anderson, executive director of the Nevada Department of Taxation.

The 15 percent wholesale tax — paid by cultivation and production facilities that supply dispensaries — generated nearly $3 million in April.

The 10 percent excise tax brought in about $3.6 million. The excise tax, paid only on recreational pot, has raised $34 million this fiscal year.

Gov. Brian Sandoval’s office projected that the two taxes combined would raise an average of $5 million a month from July 2017 to July 2019, a total of $120 million.

Officials projected the first year of recreational sales would raise lesser amounts, with the final six months of 2019 ramping up to collect the most.

By 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 into the Nevada Rainy Day Fund.