Nevada cannabis dispensaries on-track to resume usual business, COVID-19 restrictions eased


Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Nevada’s legal weed industry is getting stronger, based on a recent financial report — in 2019, cannabis sales in Nevada totaled $69 million. Compared to revenue recorded for fiscal year 2018, last year’s figures demonstrated a 20 percent increase. 

While the sales results appear promising, analysts are concerned about projections for Nevada’s legal weed industry in 2020. Their concerns are deeply rooted in the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and its likely implications on the market this year.

In an attempt to delve further into the economically-destructive scope of this pandemic, Las Vegas-based RCG Economics published a report, titled, “2020 Marijuana Economic & Fiscal Benefits Analysis: Nevada.” The report on Nevada’s cannabis sales and economy was commissioned by a non-profit organization — Nevada Dispensary Association (NDA).

Cannabis sales in Nevada predicted to hit almost a billion dollars by 2024

One of the key takeaways from this newly-published report by RCG Economics was the future outlook for Nevada’s cannabis sales revenue, with analysts foretelling revenue of approximately $956 million by 2024. However, it is important to note that the report focused on the state’s legal weed industry before adding COVID-19 to the equation. 

The pandemic will likely have a detrimental long-term impact on cannabis sales revenue in Nevada. After all, the state’s economy is heavily reliant on the influx of tourists. Approximately 43 million people descend upon the casino and dispensary-laden city of Las Vegas each year; that’s without even mentioning other tourist-focused spots on Nevada’s map.

Social distancing measures have been imposed across the United States in the midst of COVID-19. Since out-of-staters are unable to cross the border and lap up Nevada’s legal weed industry, there’s been a slump in the number of dispensary transactions recorded as of late. 

Let’s not forget about the fact that dispensaries have also had to alter the way they function in order to limit face-to-face communication. On the plus side, adult-use cannabis retailers in Nevada were recently told that they could resume in-store transactions, after previously being limited to curbside delivery and pick-up services.

“Although COVID-19 may result in lower-than-projected sales and collections, it is helpful to know what the industry is capable of accomplishing and contributing to the state, given the right conditions,” said the executive director of the NDA, Riana Durrett.

Study pinpoints more than 14,305 legal cannabis industry jobs in Nevada

Online cannabis publication and consumer-retailer connection source Leafly has posted some fascinating insights into the effect that Nevada’s legal weed industry has had on the employment sector — precisely 14,305 legal cannabis industry jobs exist in the State of Nevada; although this information has not been logged by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The number of available jobs proves that, when fully active, Nevada’s legal cannabis industry could help tackle unemployment. Moreover, the state – which has the seventh-highest number of cannabis jobs in the nation – earns around $730 million in annual sales of legal weed products.

Leafly’s report noted how the $10.7 billion legal cannabis market in the U.S. is sustaining 243,700 full-time jobs. Analysts also suggested that the number of cannabis-focused job roles in the U.S. is surging by 15 percent on an annual basis. With these things in mind, it’s clear that legalization is contributing more to employment growth in the U.S. than any other industry.

Having just resumed in-store dispensary services, Nevada’s legal cannabis industry can begin to pick up the pieces as it welcomes more workers to assist a growing consumer base.