- The Washington Times - Friday, September 29, 2017

Nevada’s newly legalized recreational marijuana dispensaries sold more than $27 million worth of weed during the first month of retail sales and earned the state over $3.6 million in tax revenue, officials said Thursday.

The state’s few dozen pot shops moved about $27.1 million in marijuana during the month of July, according to the Nevada Department of Taxation — “good numbers” consistent with the state’s intention to reap $120 million in cannabis-related tax revenue over the next two year, DOT spokeswoman Stephanie Klapstein told The Associated Press.

Nevada became the fifth state in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana sales this summer, following in the footsteps of Colorado, Washington state, Oregon and Alaska. It ranks first in terms of inaugural sales figures, however, boasting statistics nearly double those out of other legal weed states.

Colorado’s pot shops sold about $14 million in recreational weed within a month of opening Jan. 1, 2014, and Oregon’s saw a similar haul during its first month of retail sales, October 2015. Washington dispensaries sold only $3.8 million worth of marijuana in its first month of legalization, July 2014, and Alaska’s pot shops made less than $1 million during its first month of legal sales, October 2016.

“It really is incredible,” Nevada state Sen. Tick Segerblom, Las Vegas Democrat, told The Nevada Independent. “It just proves what we’ve been saying all along — there’s demand for it, it’s a great revenue source, and we have the best industry in the country.”

The $3.6 million in tax revenue generated by July’s recreational marijuana sales take into account funds reaped through two separate taxes: a 10 percent retail sales tax and a 15 percent wholesale tax. The sales tax earned the state about $2.7 million allocated to Nevada’s rainy day fund, and the $974,060 brought in by the wholesale tax goes toward state and local regulatory costs, with leftovers put aside for education expenses.

States officials previously said they expect recreational marijuana sales to earn Nevada $120 million in tax revenue during its first two years.

“Although July was not accounted for in our projections, the first month’s revenues demonstrate that the state’s structure appears to be collecting as a rate consistent with the consensus forecast,” Mari St. Martin, spokeswoman for Gov. Brian Sandoval, told The Las Vegas Review Journal.

Nevadans voted last November to legalize retail weed sales, and state regulators had authorized a total of 44 dispensaries to sell recreational marijuana by the time the law took effect July 1. The state has since licensed another nine dispensaries, bringing the total of legal pot shops within Nevada to 53.

Voters in California, Massachusetts and Maine similarly voted last year to legalize recreational marijuana, and retail pot shops there are expected to open in 2018.

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