On November 8th, the Question 2 ballot initiative was passed, making recreational cannabis use legal in Nevada.
But, boy did it take a long time to get to this point. The ballot to legalize medical cannabis was passed way back in 2000. And, it wasn’t until 13 years later that the state legislature made it legal for dispensaries to operate.
After that, things began to move a bit quicker. In fact, about a year later, Nevada State Secretary Ross Miller announced that the recreational cannabis initiative had received enough signatures for it to be placed on the November 2016 ballot.
And now, we’re here. But, what does it all mean? We aim to answer those questions for you below:
Recreational Cannabis Legislation
Although cannabis will be legalized for recreational use soon, it will take some time for it to become legal to sell or buy marijuana. In fact, it’s expected that it may take as many as 18 months for the state to iron out all the details in this new industry. What is known, however, is:
- Once the new rules are put into place, dispensaries will be able to apply for recreational licenses to sell cannabis. The application process itself is expected to take anywhere from 6-12 months.
- The path to regulation is expected to be easier because medical marijuana is already legal in the state and lawmakers can use other states who have legalized recreational marijuana use as examples. Furthermore, since Nevada already has experience regulating unique industries, like gambling.
- Recreational cannabis will be regulated similarly to alcohol. In other words, the Department of Taxation will be left with the task of monitoring cannabis sales and revenue. The cities and counties will handle business regulations and enforcements on a local level.
- The number of shops will be limited to the population of the county in which you reside. For instance, Clark County will have 80, Washoe County will have 20, Carson City will have four, and counties with less than 55,000 residents can have two.
- There will be a 15% excise tax added to wholesale cannabis transactions only. Therefore, customers visiting a retail shop should expect to pay the standard state sales tax.
- The tax revenue generated from the sale of recreational cannabis will be deposited into Nevada’s general tax fund. From there, it will be used to support both education in Nevada and to enforce its adult cannabis use program.
Recreational Marijuana Laws in Nevada
Now that we’ve gotten all the political stuff out of the way, it’s time to get down to what you really want to know. What does legalization mean for people who want to partake? Here are some rules that you should be aware of:
- Although approved in November, the law that legalizes recreational marijuana use doesn’t go into effect until Jan. 1, 2017. So, until that time, officers will enforce the current law i.e. no possession of recreational marijuana
- The new law permits adults (aged 21 and over) to have up to 1 ounce of cannabis or 1/8 of an ounce of cannabis concentrate in their possession at a time
- Driving while intoxicated is still a crime
- Smoking will only be allowed in private homes. That means no smoking in hotel rooms, bars, or casinos
- Even if it’s legal to possess cannabis in Vegas, crossing over state lines with this flower is still illegal
- You cannot sell or distribute cannabis to anyone under the age of 21.
- You cannot smoke in a public place i.e. sidewalks, parks, community centers, etc. If you do, you may face a $600 fine.
The Statewide Economics – What is Expected
Legalization of recreational cannabis is estimated to generate close to $400 million for the state in 2018 alone to balloon up to $1.1 billion by 2024 – especially when you consider the influx in cannabis-specific tourism. People all over the country will come to Vegas, not only for the casinos, premiere venues, or great eats but, the simple pleasure of legally taking a hit or two in a city already known for its indulgences. And, that’s not all – this new industry is expected to create at least 6,000 new jobs.
Just a couple decades ago, cannabis legalization was a pipe dream that many thought would never come true.
But, with joint efforts, times are a’changin’! Happy Smoking!