Nevada state regulators are confident that launching the recreational marijuana market won’t strain the state budget, in large part because they plan to use funds from the state’s medical marijuana program to offset startup costs.
Democratic state Sen. Tick Segerblom told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that up front costs include licensing and inspections of the new dispensaries.
Question 2, which legalized recreational marijuana sales in Nevada, was approved by voters in November. The ballot measure takes effect on January 1, making it legal for adults 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana. The first retail shops are expected to open in 2018.
In fiscal year 2016, taxes from Nevada’s medical marijuana program raised $761,000, and $190,000 went to the health agency for administration of the program. The other $571,000 when to the public schools.
Segerblom said that to ensure a smooth rollout of recreational pot sales, he will propose to start such sales ahead of time using the medical marijuana dispensaries now in operation. This would give the Tax Department the time it needs to ensure the ballot measure is implemented without problems.
“The department is already working to develop temporary regulations,” said Deonne Contine, executive director of the Tax Department. “We intend to hold a public workshop very early in 2017 and then have our temporary regulations adopted so we can begin issuing licenses.”
In contrast, Massachusetts, which also approved recreation marijuana in November, is considering using the state’s rainy day fund to the tune of $30 million to implement the program by 2018, according to the Boston Globe. The money would be repaid from tax revenues generated by recreational cannabis sales.