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Nevada’s marijuana sales in August generate $8.1M in tax revenue, set new monthly record

November 15, 2018

Marijuana sales made Nevada more than $8 million richer during August, setting a new monthly record a little over a year since the state legalized retail pot and launched a system for regulating and taxing the plant.

Nevada earned $8.1 million in tax revenue from marijuana sales during August, breaking the previous record of $7.9 million set one month earlier, the state announced Wednesday.

“All told, during the month of August, Nevada’s licensed marijuana dispensaries and retail stores reported taxable sales of $48.8 million, which includes medical marijuana, adult-use marijuana and marijuana-related goods,” said Bill Anderson, executive director of the state Department of Taxation.

“While this represents a relatively small portion of the state’s overall monthly taxable sales, which were about $5 billion in August, the upward trend we have seen in marijuana excise tax revenue since adult-use sales began indicates this nascent industry is continuing to develop,” he said in a statement.

Nevada legalized medical and recreational marijuana in 2001 and 2016, respectively, and it joined the handful of states that permit retail pot shops to operate effective July 1, 2017.

Marijuana sales generated $69.8 million in tax revenue for Nevada during the first 12 months of recreational dispensaries operating, and the state previously projected a similar haul, $69.4 million, for fiscal year 2019.

The $8.1 million in marijuana-related tax revenue reaped by Nevada during the recent record-setting month include $3.9 million generated through a 15 percent wholesale tax and $4.2 million generated through a 10 percent retail tax, according to the state’s statistics. Revenue generated by the wholesale tax is allocated toward administering the state’s marijuana program, local governments and state educational initiatives, while revenue made form the retail tax are placed in the state’s rainy day fund.

In addition to funding the marijuana program, taxes collected during fiscal year 2018 resulted in $5 million going toward local governments, as well as $27.5 million toward the state’s Distributive School Account, or DSA.

The vast majority of taxable marijuana sales reported during Aug. 2018 $43.4 million of $48.9 million stemmed from retail pot purchases as opposed to medical, according to the state’s figures.

In August 2017, the second month of retail sales, marijuana earned Nevada around $4.9 million in tax revenue, or 60.5 percent fewer than during August 2018.

Ten states and D.C. have passed laws legalizing recreational marijuana, including most recently Michigan as a result of the Nov. 6 midterms. Only seven, however, currently have systems in place permitting non-medical dispensaries to operate: Alaska, California, Colorado, Massachusetts Nevada, Oregon and Washington state.

Marijuana is illegal under federal law, though the Trump administration has refrained so far from intervening in states that have passed legislation permitting the plant for either recreational or medicinal purposes.

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