Legal recreational cannabis sales started on July 1st, 2017 for the state of Nevada and a year later the Department of Taxation is pleased to have outdone the sales and tax goals that had been placed on the venture. Nevada’s year opening sales exceeded that of Colorado and Washington on their initial first year sales. However, there is still a damper on cannabis in Nevada and that has come in the form of a thriving black market. It is estimated that more than half of the states cannabis sales are still taking place underground, which officials understand that it’s also taking away even more of that very successful tax revenue that has been collected.
Andrew Jolley is the head of the Nevada Dispensary Association and owner of The Source dispensaries. He stated that due to high taxes placed on the products and various costs dealing with state regulations have caused many customers to now seek out more underground alternatives for obtaining their cannabis products. Jolley was speaking recently at the Las Vegas Medical Marijuana Association’s monthly luncheon and said that as much as 60 percent of locals are purchasing their cannabis from street dealers for prices extremely lower than what dispensaries charge. “Most of the time, your neighbor is selling for cheaper than a dispensary and neither of you are going to get in trouble,” Jolley said. “Unless your neighbor has an RV full of marijuana.”
The medical cannabis customers in Nevada are a bit upset because they have not been able to get the same medical grades that they had been used to prior to recreational sales. The product is obviously still available, but the primary focus has been on recreational sales, because it accounts for almost eighty-five percent of cannabis sales in general. These factors account for a drop in medical marijuana cards being issued and doctors visits being procured for recommendation signatures, which run around $100. Obviously, all of these side regulated procedures are taxed as well.
Illegal marijuana delivery companies, which often pose as legal dispensaries, will be at the forefront of the industry’s priorities for the 2019 legislative session. A provision in state law allowing adults to apply for state-issued marijuana employee agent cards provides an “official” badge for illegal dealers to show their delivery clients, strengthening their bogus claims to be licensed services.
Only state-licensed dispensaries and partnering third-party delivery services are allowed to transport marijuana to clients’ homes, according to the Nevada Department of Taxation, the industry’s regulating body. But illegal delivery services have gone as far as purchasing billboards on Interstate 15 to trick unknowing buyers and interfere in the legal market.
By Tracy Jerome Chisley (@PoeticPanther)
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