Nevada’s Recreational Marijuana Market Hits $38M, Soars Past Colorado

LAS VEGAS, NV – JUNE 30: Essence Vegas CEO Armen Yemenidjian (L) high-fives employees at Essence Vegas Cannabis Dispensary as they get ready for the midnight start of recreational marijuana sales on June 30, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. On July 1, Nevada joins seven other states allowing recreational marijuana use and becomes the first of four states that voted to legalize recreational sales in November’s election to allow dispensaries to sell cannabis for recreational use to anyone over 21. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Nevada’s recreational marijuana industry hit a new high, selling more than $37.9 million in October. The state has earned nearly $20 million in marijuana tax revenue since the adult-use market launched in July.

“We are pretty on target with projections, maybe a little over,” Department of Taxation spokeswoman Stephanie Klapstein told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Nevada voters approved a recreational legalization measure last November, along with California, Maine, and Massachusetts. But unlike the other states, Nevada launched its adult-use market in July. Regulators in California and Massachusetts are still working out details for their respective markets, while regulated sales in Maine will probably be delayed thanks to political wrangling.

Launching early is not the only way Nevada has been outperforming other states when it comes to cannabis.

Four months into Colorado’s recreational market, dispensaries in the state saw $22.56 million in sales — a fraction of Nevada’s sales four months into its recreational marijuana program.

Meanwhile, dispensary owners in Nevada don’t seem to be worried about California’s imminent adult-use market. California regulators have issued temporary licenses to some cannabis businesses that will be allowed to sell to adults over 21 on January 1. But two of the state’s largest markets — Los Angeles and San Francisco — won’t have adult-use sales when recreational marijuana launches.

Dispensary owners in Nevada are hoping that regulated sales in California will help tamp down on black market marijuana that flows over the border to compete with the regulated market.

Nevada’s adult-use marijuana market is driven by the tourist-friendly Las Vegas. Cannabis analytics firm New Frontier projects the state’s cannabis market to be worth $622 million by 2020.

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