Of the four states that voted to legalize adult-use cannabis last November, the first to make it available was Nevada on Saturday, July 1, at midnight.
On Friday night, June 30, hundreds began to line up outside dispensaries, especially in Las Vegas, up to three hours before 12:01 a.m. It was an exciting night, complete with green fireworks when dispensaries opened their doors.
“As the crowds grew closer to the stroke of midnight, it was very much like the excitement of a new year, with organized enthusiasm and coordinated purchases.” recounted Krista Whitley, veteran of the Nevada cannabis industry and founder of the cannabis-specific digital marketing company, Social Media Unicorn. “Lines resembled the happiest place on Earth, filled with adults waiting for an elevated ride to a happy place thanks to Nevada’s cannabis products.” r
In just the first four days of sales, Nevada dispensaries brought in $3 million in sales and $500,000 in tax revenue. This income puts Nevada on par with other legal marijuana states, like Oregon which saw $3.2 million in sales revenue on its first day and Colorado which brought in $5 million during its first week back in 2014.
Although Nevada is off to a great start, the 47 dispensaries currently open to the adult-use market were afraid of running out of cannabis products during those first two weeks, but not because customers had smoked nearly every bud in the state. Rather, because of a specific regulation that prevented recreational cannabis from being transported.
When cannabis was voted in last November, one of the stipulations was to give liquor distributors exclusive rights to transport adult-use cannabis between production facilities and dispensaries for the first 18 months, so as to not cut into the liquor industry’s profits.
But that’s when Governor Brian Sandoval stepped in.
He declared a “state of emergency” to allow the Department of Taxation to grant these transport licenses to other, non-liquor applicants, which went to a vote on July 13. The Nevada Tax Commission passed this emergency regulation, and now, more distribution licenses are expected to be granted in the new few weeks—ending Nevada’s “weedpocalypse.”
Sandoval wants to see sales continue without too many setbacks because he’s already budgeted $70 million of cannabis tax revenue to go toward public education.
“Unlike the myth of utter chaos and shortages, I have seen some favorites sold out, but my experiences have been filled with well-trained and prepared dispensary teams who have exemplified the future of retail marijuana sales,” said Whitley of the “weed shortage” situation in Nevada.
Whitley is always one step ahead of the game and has compiled some of those sold-out, favorite products into one kit: the Vegas Weekend Box.
Meant for inexperienced users and Las Vegas tourists, the Weekend Box is stuffed with a variety of micro-served products, like flower, concentrate, edibles and smoking supplies. These super high quality products in micro-served portions allow new users to experiment with different types of products to see what works best for them.
The Weekend Box is important for consumers for a couple of reasons.
First of all, dispensaries often carry hundreds of products that can be overwhelming to an inexperienced user. When rookies do pick and purchase a product, it’s often too strong and they can have a bad time, not wanting to experiment with legal cannabis again.
Not only are Whitley’s most trusted products all in one place, none are too strong to ensure new users don’t get too “high.”
Secondly, Nevada’s adult-use market is currently the most expensive in the country with one eighth (3.5 grams) going for $80, up to four times more expensive than other states. This is partially due to the state’s current tax system of 33-38 percent on recreational products.
Even though this tax revenue is going to good places, like the 15 percent dedicated to Nevada schools, it’s still a significant chunk of change. In this respect, Whitley’s variety Weekend Box will save consumers money, as well as the possibility of overdoing it.
The first two weeks of Nevada’s adult-use cannabis market may not have been the smoothest, but it’s still going strong. With the distribution dilemma almost sorted, Nevada is posed to see huge profits and a whole new rush of tourism.
Michelle Janikian is a freelance writer focused on drug policy and trends. Follow her on Twitter @m00shian.
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