The number of marijuana businesses in our state could rise considerably over the next couple of years.
Right now, there are 65 marijuana dispensaries operating. Earlier this month, the state’s Department of Taxation issued new conditional licenses – 61 of them.
The licenses are conditional because licensees also have to go through the regulatory hoops of local governments. They have 12 months to complete that process. The state then does a final inspection to give them a final license.
Although the licenses have been issued, the Clark County Commission voted to temporary stop those licensees from moving forward. Commission Marilyn Kirkpatrick told KNPR's State of Nevada they won't be accepting applications for local licensees until July because more study needs to be done into the impact marijuana is having.
"I think there is no rush to put the applications in place today," she said, "We've said on July 1 we'll revisit it. Let us finish some of our studies. Let's finish determining what the social impacts are. Then we can revisit it as a board and determine if that makes sense."
While it may be a bit longer until more competition is injected into the marketplace, Will Adler, a lobbyist for the industry, doesn't think that is what will bring prices down for consumers.
"I think you're going to see more price drops from the continued growth and efficiency of the marijuana industry," he said. "I think the greatest reduction in cost is the maturity of the industry."
Adler said the marijuana business licenses in Nevada are valuable because of the state's strong efforts to regulate the industry. He said people know those licenses are going to stick around and keep their value.
The cost of starting up a marijuana business and maintaining that business has long been a concern. Supporters of legalized marijuana say there is a sweet spot of balancing between making money in taxes and pricing people back into the black market.
Bill Anderson is the executive director of taxation with the state of Nevada. He said his department is keeping a watchful eye on that balance.
"It is a high tax industry," he said, "But, I don't think we're at the point right now where the taxes are overburdensome. I certainly don't think that they are out of line with the tax structures that we see in other states."
As for the future of the industry, Adler believes as marijuana becomes less taboo there is a chance federal regulations will change, which could lead to a whole host of changes from the banking industry to the gaming industry.
Both of those important business areas currently aren't getting near the marijuana industry but he believes that could soften.
"Marijuana is becoming more and more standardized and more and more acceptable," he said, "You will see even the Gaming Control Board take a lesser stance on that."
Marilyn Kirkpatrick, commissioner, Clark County; Bill Anderson, Executive Director of Taxation, state of Nevada; Will Adler, lobbyist for marijuana industry, Silver State Government Relations
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