It might be time to book a summer trip to Las Vegas or Reno. Nevada’s legal recreational marijuana program received the go-ahead to begin July 1, six months earlier than scheduled.
The Nevada Tax Commission on Monday approved temporary licenses for marijuana retail shops that qualify. The licenses granted in July are only temporary and only businesses already licensed to sell medical marijuana are able to apply for early-start recreational licenses. Businesses will need to re-apply for permanent licenses later.
The early start will give the state’s Department of Taxation a window to test the regulatory system before the voter-approved program takes effect on Jan. 1, 2o18.
Retailers can begin filing license applications on May 15.
Nevada was one of four states to vote to legalize recreational adult use of marijuana in November, along with California, Maine and Massachusetts. Since the election, more than 100 public hearings have been held in order to get the program off the ground.
The move by Nevada officials stands in sharp contrast to those of lawmakers in other states, such as Maine and Massachusetts, where politicians have enacted legislation delaying the implementation of retail cannabis sales. In California, lawmakers have also hinted at potentially delaying retail marijuana sales until after the law’s intended January 1, 2018 deadline.
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval’s budget proposal anticipates $70 million in tax revenue in the first two years of the recreational marijuana program. But in order to hit that revenue target, the state needed the retailers to get an early jump.
The state plans to levy a 15 percent excise tax on cannabis sales, in addition to standard sales tax.
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