Pot By The Numbers: Legal Weed In Nevada

The Silver State is on track to make $30 million on legal cannabis over the next 6 months.

On Saturday July 1, legal recreational weed sales began for Nevada.

In Las Vegas, green fireworks, crowds of eager-to-be-stoned people, and those goche-as-hell, inflatable, waving, tube-dude-things you mostly see at car dealerships, signaled the end of marijuana prohibition. Beginning at midnight on Saturday, would-be cannabis customers lined up at dispensaries across the state, while Senator Tick Sagerbloom purchased the Silver State’s first legal bag of recreational bud.

In anticipation of the November-2016 approved recreational market beginning sales, retailers loaded inventories and stocked up on weedy goods to the point of surplus, in an effort to meet a massive consumer demand. Forty-four dispensaries are licensed to sell marijuana in all of Nevada, interestingly enough, though, 39 of the weed retailers are located in the Las Vegas area––though none can sell the drug on the famous Vegas strip, where public consumption is also banned, and could have violaters paying a $600 fine.

According to the Las Vegas Sun, in just the first four days since rec sales began, Nevada dispensaries generated $3 million in sales, and close to $500,000 in tax revenue, putting the state on a steady course to make $30 million on legal weed over the next six months. Furthermore, as Las Vegas welcomes nearly 42 million visitors each year, tourists are expected to account for two of every three recreational bud purchases.

And the nascent industry will significantly impact the state economy, as Nevada taxes rec sales at 33 to 38 percent. A website that displays the average price of marijuana by city shows that the mean cost of medium-grade cannabis landing around $13-per-gram at medical dispensaries, while the price for the same amount of recreational pot is closer to $20––which is higher than most other legal states. In Colorado, for example, down-to-blaze adults over the age of 21 can buy a gram of rec weed for less than $10.

Still, despite paying more for weed than one would on the street, demand was so high during the first weekend of recreational sales that Nevada dispensaries reportedly had to actually turn customers away, while one extended its hours of operation to make sure each and every customer in line would be able to get lit. The Euphoria Wellness dispensary helped at least 1,000 weed buyers in its first two days of sales, with customers purchasing an average of a quarter ounce (7 grams) of flower.

"I'm very happy with the way sales have gone and continue to go, especially when you consider that the word didn't really get out ahead of time," said Andrew Jolley to the Las Vegas Sun. Jolley is the president of the Nevada Dispensary Association, and CEO of TheSource+ dispensaries.

"The public really only had a couple of weeks' notice, whereas Colorado had a full year to prepare,” Jolley said.

The state’s Tax Commission only said it would begin issuing licenses at the end of May.

Nevada was the fifth state to legalize recreational weed sales, joining Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska. And California is next in line to get on the legal recreational train, and is expected to generate $5 billion in legal bud sales each year. Still, Golden State lawmakers have until January 1, 2018 to lock down a regulatory framework per the November 2016-passed Proposition 64.