"Nevada is home to legal public gambling, prostitution, and drinking. The State has been regulating fringe businesses for decades. But how do their newly minted recreational marijuana industry and policy compare to Colorado?"
Cannabis in Nevada-the basics
Under Nevada law, adults 21 years of age and older can buy and possess up to an ounce of cannabis flower, or an eighth of an ounce of concentrates. These products are available in dispensaries throughout the state. The state proved that they could get processes and policies together quicker and with fewer bumps than Oregon, Washington, and Colorado. Of course bumps (and even some significant divots) were expected in Colorado, seeing as how it was the first to embrace cannabis again after nearly a century of prohibition, but the question of whether there will be a cultural difference between Colorado's style of legalization and Nevada's is being answered day by day.
Rules and Regulations-Nevada vs. Colorado
The rules regarding marijuana in Nevada are pretty straightforward. Users must be 21 and older with valid ID to purchase and possess weed. Driving under the influence is illegal-although roadside checking measures are not in place-and products must be consumed on private property. That means no hotels, casinos, or even pot-friendly events. These rules and regulations are nearly across the board i all states with recreational and medical marijuana, including Colorado.
Indoor Consumption and Private Cannabis Functions
Of all the states where recreational pot is legal, only Colorado is working on public consumption right now. This measure would allow businesses like yoga studios to apply for permits. But Colorado is limited by indoor smoking bans, which Nevada is not. The thing holding Nevada back from public consumption of cannabis is the fact that regulators are watching Nevada with hawk eyes.
A bill proposing regulations for marijuana lounges died in Nevada's 2017 legislative session, but advocates for the measure expect that it can be worked out on the local level. Some estimate that the state is at least two years from enacting any public consumption laws because Nevada's legislature doesn't meet until 2019. But the tourism industry will force the issue.
If all goes well, lounges connected to dispensaries could open later this year. Just as there are strip clubs and casinos (essentially clubs for gambling), so to would there be clubs to consume cannabis indoors. In Vegas, it is totally cool to walk down the Strip sipping a cocktail or guzzling a beer. But weed? A tourist caught consuming cannabis in public is gambling on a $600 fine.
Finally, The Green Rush Capital
Colorado has pulled in $506 million dollars since retail marijuana sales began in January 2017. The vast majority of which came from recreational sales, but does include medical marijuana, which was legalized years earlier. Most of the state revenue went to school construction projects, and an additional $5.7 million went to the Public School Fund. Smaller chunks were directed toward drug treatment and prevention programs and to the regulation of the cannabis industry.
Colorado concluded that at 30%, the tax rate did not dissuade the black market from operating, so they decreased it as of July 1, 2017. Medical marijuana sales remain taxed at 2.9%, while recreational marijuana is taxed more aggressively, with an excise tax of 15%, a special sales tax of 10%, on top of license and application fees. By taxing recreational at about 34%-only lower than Washington by 3 points-Nevada projects $70 million in tax revenue will go to state education in the next two years. It's medical program, however, got immunity from the recreational tax and will be taxed at just 2% to keep costs down for sick people.