Cash Crop: NV Projected to Raise $120 Million In Marijuana Tax Revenue
The numbers are in for Nevada's first month of legal retail marijuana sales.
In July, legal marijuana dispensaries in Nevada made $27.1 million selling the marijuana plant's leaves (or "flowers" as they're called by consumers), products to smoke or vaporize the plant, and edible food products infused with THC (the psychoactive chemical in marijuana that produces the characteristic "high" for which marijuana is so highly valued).
That figure is nearly double what dispensaries in Colorado and Oregon made in their first month of legal marijuana sales. It's also nearly seven times the amount sold in Washington's debut month.
Fortune magazine is reporting that the tracking number for the next two years indicates that Nevada will bring in a lucrative $120 million in tax revenue alone from legal marijuana sales.
For July, medical and recreational marijuana sales in the Battle Born state generated $3.68 million in tax revenue, according to the Nevada Department of Taxation.
Astoundingly, that's just the tip of the iceberg in state revenues from marijuana sales.
In addition to sales taxes, the state's coffers filled up with $6.5 million in license and application fees from marijuana businesses. That means the total take in state revenue was $10.2 million in just one month.
If California is any indication, the "Green Rush" in Nevada will likely spur the creation of a number of state government jobs to fill the growing regulatory and administrative regime for the booming legal marijuana industry.
The Golden State is on a hiring spree to fill hundreds of new government positions related to its own debut of legal recreational marijuana in 2018, and local governments are expected to add thousands more jobs.
Although marijuana has been legalized for medicinal or recreational use in a solid majority of 29 states so far, it remains illegal under federal prohibition laws.
Salon reported Sunday that there were more arrests last year for marijuana than for violent crime, according to the FBI's latest Uniform Crime Report.
In the United States, there were a whopping 1.57 million drug arrests in 2016 -- averaging out to three drug arrests every minute, 24 hours a day, every day, all year -- three times the number of arrests for violent offenses.
According to the Marijuana Policy Project, which obtained marijuana arrest data from the FBI, 653,000 of those drug arrests were for marijuana. MPP Communications Director Morgan Fox said of these reports:
"Arresting and citing nearly half a million people a year for a substance that is objectively safer than alcohol is a travesty. Despite a steady shift in public opinion away from marijuana prohibition, and the growing number of states that are regulating marijuana like alcohol, marijuana consumers continue to be treated like criminals throughout the country. This is a shameful waste of resources and can create lifelong consequences for the people arrested."
As Newsweek reported on September 29, in an article titled, "Legal Marijuana Lights Up Sales for McDonald's and Taco Bell," it would seem that marijuana consumers are more likely to eat a salty, high calorie meal than cause any trouble.