High sales in Nevada’s social market come as no surprise


Thor Benson / Cannabis News Box Contributor

Nevada only started selling cannabis for social use in July, and it’s already raking in a lot of money from it, according to a new report from the state’s tax department.

Over $27 million worth of cannabis was sold in the first month, which is far more than Colorado, Oregon or Washington sold during their first months. That means the state collected nearly $4 million in taxes from cannabis sales, which will go toward funding state schools and more.

“I wasn’t really that surprised,” Chris Thompson, executive director of Las Vegas NORML, told Cannabis News Box. “We have 46 million tourists come in every single year, and we’re already known for having legalized things that maybe aren’t legal where some of these tourists are from, so I think it makes sense that 46 million people coming in from all over the country and all over the world will want to try the newest and latest thing.”

Jolene Forman, a staff attorney at the Drug Policy Alliance, said she’s also not particularly shocked that Nevada sales were so high.

“New states that are coming on board are learning from the states that have already paved the way, so they kind of have a leg up and can move faster, and consumers are more comfortable with the idea of going to stores to purchase [cannabis],” Forman said. She said revenues have also been going up in other parts of the country.

Thompson said he thinks sales are only going to go higher, and he thinks everything will be better when places like Las Vegas start allowing social use spaces, as we’ve written about before. Until then, tourists have almost nowhere to consume cannabis legally.

Forman agreed that social use spaces are desperately needed in Nevada. “For a place like Nevada, which has a huge tourist economy based out of Las Vegas and Reno, it’s really important to permit social use so tourists can come into the state and have places where they can lawfully use it if public use isn’t permitted,” Forman said.

No one knows how much cannabis Nevada will have sold after it’s completed its first full year of sales, but it looks like the numbers are going to be quite high, and a big part of that is because of its existing tourism economy.

Now they’ll just have to figure out where those tourists can consume it.