The first year of adult-use cannabis sales in Nevada has exceeded the state’s year-end expectations by 25% as of July, reports The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. With June’s revenue, taxed sales will exceed $500 million this year to date, resulting in tax payments totaling over $70 million.
Nevada set sales records last year as well. In the first six months of their legal market, even following a lengthy legal battle regarding licenses, Nevada sold more than $195 million in cannabis products. This dwarfs the first half-year of sales in states like Washington ($67 million) and Colorado ($114 million).
Nevada uses the taxes raised from cannabis sales to fund schools, after covering administrative costs for the state. This year, $25 million is expected to go to schools in the state. However, some officials involved with schools, like Jim Hartman who led the anti-legalization camp during the 2016 battle to get legalization on the ballot, say that the benefits for schools are blown out of proportion. Hartman places the $25 million delivered this year against the nearly $1 billion annual school budget of Washoe County, Nevada alone.
“People have a huge misconception that we are going to build libraries and roads and all kinds of things with this marijuana money, but in reality, these are tiny, tiny numbers. They are celebrating the sale of marijuana products. It isn’t as though SAT scores are increasing.” –Jim Hartman, Chairman of Nevadans for Responsible Drug Policy, via myAJC.com
The next wave of revenue for schools, which may silence naysayers, will come from local governments licensing smoking lounges or other public consumption sites. Tourists right now in Nevada have nowhere to legally consume cannabis. The City Council of Las Vegas had plans to start licensing such lounges but backed off the move to allow Colorado to be the first to test those waters.