Cortez Masto awaits U.S. attorney’s take on pot in Nevada

RENO — Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto says she’s as anxious as everyone else to find out the acting U.S. Attorney for Nevada’s take on the Trump administration’s marijuana policy.

The Nevada Democrat told the Reno Gazette Journal she’s encouraging Dayle Elieson to continue the Obama administration’s hands-off approach to recreational pot.

She says Elieson told her just before the former Texas prosecutor was appointed she didn’t have a position on a Trump administration memo that frees up U.S. prosecutors to enforce federal laws outlawing marijuana even in states’ like Nevada that have legalized it.

Masto says Elieson told her she wanted more time to talk to Justice Department officials about the situation.

The freshman senator says she didn’t support legalization of pot in Nevada but believes it is a states’ rights issue.

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Nevada marijuana biz rakes in $5.5 million in November

Steve Marcus

Marijuana is displayed at the Apothecary Shoppe marijuana dispensary on West Flamingo Road Thursday, Jan. 04, 2018.

Tax proceeds from Nevada’s marijuana sales exceeded expectations in November, adding to already better-than-average figures from the four previous months of legal recreational pot sales, according to information released Monday.

The industry brought in more than $5.5 million in November, 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 down from about $5.8 million in October, but up from about $4.7 million in September, $4.8 million in August and $3.6 million in July for a total of about $24.6 million.

November’s figures for the 15 percent wholesale tax — which charges Nevada cultivation and production facilities for transporting the plant to local dispensaries — was more than $3.3 million, while the 10 percent excise tax was an all-time monthly high of about $2.1 million.

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.

State Sen. Tick Segerblom, who championed marijuana legislation, said 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 into 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.

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