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How Much Money Has Come To Nevada From Marijuana Taxes?

July 1 marks one year since recreational marijuana could be sold legally in Nevada.

Among other things, it's brought in a fair amount of revenue for the state. 

The money has come through the collection of two main taxes on the industry. The first is a 15 percent wholesale tax that's levied on the cultivator. The second is a 10 percent retail tax, which is just levied on recreational-use marijuana -- not medical marijuana.

Additionally, people purchasing marijuana at dispensaries pay the regular state sales tax. 

Bill Anderson, the executive director of the Nevada Department of Taxation, told State of Nevada the wholesale tax was part of the ballot measure passed in 2016 legalizing marijuana. 

The retail tax was a policy decision made by state legislators. 

The money from the retail tax -- a little more than $30 million in all so far -- is going to the state's rainy-day fund.

"I think the reason that the Legislature ultimately decided that the tax go into the state's rainy-day fund is there was a lot of uncertainty," he said. "There remains a lot of uncertainty."

He said lawmakers were not sure how much money would be made by marijuana taxes, so they decided to use a cautious approach to the tax dollars it would generate.

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Money generated by the wholesale tax is distributed throughout Nevada -- regardless of whether a county has allowed marijuana dispensaries or not.

"Every county, off the top, gets close to $90,000 a year to fund marijuana enforcement, whether there's a presence of marijuana or not," Anderson said. Jurisdictions with  a marijuana industry get extra dollars for enforcement and administration.

Another portion of the money goes to the state for marijuana enforcement efforts, which Anderson said totaled $2.8 million.

Whatever is left over is funneled into the state's education fund.

"We're pretty sure that, at the end of the fiscal year, there will be about $25 million -- approximately -- that's available for distribution to the Distributive School Account," Anderson said.

Anderson said the money collected by the state in marijuana tax is already much higher than anyone expected.

"We are three-quarters of the way through the fiscal year. We've collected 97 percent of the taxes that were anticipated," he said. "We are ahead of schedule."

Besides the amount of money collected, Anderson said Nevada is viewed as a state whose recreational marijuana program was created in the right way.

"Nevada is perceived by many outsiders as being the gold standard in terms of how we have rolled the program out," he said.

 

Guests

Bill Anderson, executive director, Nevada Department of Taxation

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