Kyle Moore, 22, and Andrea Lawrence, 23, are doing their part to pump some money into the state of Nevada.
“I bought a gram of blue dream, a gram of pineapple express … couple tincture drops,” the young man told me as we stood at a counter at a downtown marijuana dispensary.
These two kids are visiting from Madison, Wis. and they’re on a pot-buying spree: Las Vegas Releaf dispensary today, Essence, yesterday.
The damage for two days?
“I think $400, $417,” Kyle told me by the cash register.
In July, customers like them spent $27 million during Nevada’s first month of recreational sales, and our legislative “godfather” of marijuana, State Senator Tick Segerblom, couldn’t be happier.
“Really amazing, particularly when you compare them to other states – Colorado, Oregon, Washington, we’re double those states for the first month,” Segerblom says, adding, “we didn’t have Henderson online, we didn’t have Washoe County online, so it’s really looking good.”
A 10-percent retail tax on that $27 million in recreational sales pumped $2.7 million into the state’s rainy day fund.
On top of that, a 15-percent wholesale tax on both medical and recreational pumped more than $970,000 to schools.
Total tax boost, just for July: about $3.7 million.
The wholesale tax is projected to bring in $56.2 million over the next two years; the retail tax, $63.5 million.
Segerblom expects sales to remain strong.
“If you look at the other states, they are still going up,” he says. “After we look at August, if we see the revenues are still high, I would like to see the Governor have a special session and take some of the extra money and put it into the school districts, and apply it based on where the dollars come from.”
Las Vegas Releaf General Manager Lissa Lawatsch says business has been steady … and July was gangbusters.
“Business has been great. Obviously, in the first month, we saw lines out the door. Everybody rushing in so they could have the experience,” Lawatsch told me.
Nevada’s Department of Taxation says, in addition to generating tax revenue from sales, licensing and application fees from the state’s 250 licensed marijuana facilities have generated $6.5 million in state revenue. Those facilities include 53 retail stores, 92 cultivation facilities, 65 product manufacturing facilities, nine testing labs, and 31 distributors.