What happens in Vegas, or at the very least what you buy there, really does need to stay in Vegas.
Las Vegas, which had almost 43 million visitors in 2016, will begin legal sales of recreational marijuana starting on July 1 as part of the statewide change in law in Nevada. But while you eventually will be able to buy it on the Strip -- a dispensary is applying for a license on the famed street -- don’t think you can smoke it there. Nevada law prohibits marijuana smoking in public places.
Law enforcement is expected to be keeping an extra eye out for such behavior. A spokesman for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department told the Los Angeles Times that tourists also shouldn’t expect to use marijuana in hotels along the Strip and downtown, none of which have decided yet to allow it.
A last minute lawsuit seemed about to derail the sale of adult-use marijuana in Nevada.
The state’s voters approved the sale of recreational marijuana in November 2016 along with California, Maine and Massachusetts. But the Silver State worked faster than the other states to get a regulated, adult-use marijuana system in place. Most states are not expected to start legal marijuana sales until January 2018.
However, the state’s Independent Alcohol Distributors sued, saying they wanted exclusive rights for the first 18 months to distribute marijuana in the state. That language actually is included in the proposition passed by voters last November, according to Nevada Public Radio.
A judge ruled in the distributors favor, effectively eliminating the vast majority of 93 applicants who had applied for licenses (many of them dispensaries which already sell legal medical marijuana).
However, emergency rules passed by the state will allow sales to go forward if a dispensary already has marijuana in supply. This is expected to last 60 to 90 days in some places, giving the state and the alcohol distributors time to hash out the legal issues.
If nothing else, the situation has shown the high amount of money at stake when a state legalizes adult-use marijuana, as has been seen in Colorado, Oregon and Washington.
$60 Million For Education
Meanwhile, state leaders hope to use the windfall from a marijuana excise tax for public use.
By the language of the proposition approved by voters, marijuana tax money and fees must go into the State Distributive School Account. Gov. Bob Sandoval hopes as much as $60 million annually could go toward schools in the initial first year of sales.
On the other hand, the state also expects to incur costs for regulating the industry, including $600,000 for the state Department of Taxation to set up a software system for tracking marijuana sales and another $1.1 million in additional personal costs.