LAS VEGAS, NEVADA—After a successful trip to meet with marijuana industry leaders in Colorado this June, the Nevada Dispensary Association (NDA) feels confident that the lessons learned by officials in Colorado following the state’s legalization of recreational marijuana will be a great benefit to Nevada in the event that Question 2 passes this fall. The common sentiment within the group was that the trip provided eye opening facts to the Nevada delegation, most significantly regarding Nevada’s upcoming undertaking, which has the potential to ultimately yield great benefits to the state’s infrastructure, tourism, education and public health in the future.
While the NDA—along with Nevada elected officials Senator Patricia Farley, Assemblyman Derek Armstrong and Assemblyman Nelson Araujo—brought optimism as well as skepticism to their talks with Colorado officials, the usefulness of the talks with representatives of the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, Colorado Division of Revenue and others did much to answer the delegation’s pressing concerns. Foremost of the issues addressed were questions concerning how Colorado taxes marijuana and what the state does with that tax revenue; how the state approaches prevention of teen use; how Colorado handles the issue of DUI when it relates to marijuana use; what public health impact has been observed and how Colorado has sought to address those impacts; and, lastly, how Colorado has implemented state’s medical marijuana program after the legalization of recreational marijuana.
Having received thorough, thoughtful answers to its questions, the delegation and the NDA ended talks confident that the passage of Question 2 could be positively implemented in Nevada as long as strong lines of communication between Nevada officials exist between their Colorado counterparts. It will also be important for the state to thoughtfully craft an educational and far-reaching public awareness campaign around legalization. For example, as advertising of marijuana expands, so should communication with teenagers on the effects of marijuana from teen use as opposed to adult use. Finally, and of particular interest to Nevada patients and established marijuana businesses in the state, it will continue to be crucial for the state to address unbroken support of Nevada’s medical marijuana program to ensure its long term growth.
Like Colorado, Nevada stands to benefit from the passage of Question 2 and the responsible implementation of recreational use marijuana. According to a recent study conducted by RCG Economics and the Marijuana Policy Group, from 2018-2024 Nevada stands to see an estimated total tax revenue of $464,005,113. With an estimated 6,800,719 potential adult-use Nevada tourists aged 21 and up (according to sources including NSDUH, Marijuana Policy Group, RCG, Travel Nevada, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and Reno Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority) demanding an estimated total of 45,956.7 kg in 2018, RCG estimates a potential market value of recreational use marijuana of $393,710,009 from tourism alone. Nevada is uniquely positioned to positively translate the state’s tourism market as well as its residents’ demand for recreational marijuana into a boon for Nevada’s communities.