While medical and recreational cannabis has been widely available in the state of Nevada since January 2017, the first retail sales of recreational cannabis are slated to begin in July.
While the voter initiative to legalize cannabis passed in November 2016, it only included provisions for the taxation of cannabis products – not for the licensing of marijuana retailers. This creates an obstacle in the state’s ability to introduce a criminal justice matter into a free market economy. Legislation covering the actual structure of retail licensing is forthcoming, and the Nevada Department of Taxation is leading the initiative.
The Nevada Department of Taxation proposed temporary legislation covering retail sales to the Joint Judiciary Committee of the Legislature in the beginning of May. The state Tax Commission – which operates independently of the tax department – adopted these regulations when it met on May 9th.
According to the temporary regulations so far set forth, retail dispensaries will pay $25,000 for a license to sell cannabis products. Cultivation facilities that plan on distributing cannabis products to these dispensaries must pay $30,000 for the license to do so, and testing facilities must pay $15,000.
This leads to a projected $70 million profit in taxes for the State of Nevada, echoing the kind of taxation income made from retail sales of marijuana in states such as Colorado and California.
The state Tax Commission, the Nevada Department of Taxation, and other government entities have held numerous hearings with industry leaders since voters approved the introduction of legal cannabis products to the Nevada market in November.
With the July 1st deadline looming, many marijuana retailers are scrambling to set up their businesses in time to catch the early recreational market as it opens. Several companies that currently only hold medical marijuana licenses have voiced concerns about the fact that if they open up after that deadline, they will lose important revenue from the initial opening of the market.
Despite that fact, the adoption of permanent legislation is still forthcoming. This could mean that the licensing structure for retail marijuana dispensaries will change after the term of the temporary measure passes.
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