Marijuana tax produces early revenue bonus for Nevada | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Marijuana tax produces early revenue bonus for Nevada

Geoff Dornan | gdornan@nevadaappeal.com

FILE - In this Feb. 17, 2016 file photo, plants grow at the home of Jeremy Nickle, owner of Hawaiian Holy Smokes, in Honolulu, Hawaii. Hawaii says it will be the first state to require marijuana transactions to be handled without cash. Hawaii state officials said Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017, medical marijuana dispensaries won't be allowed to accept cash beginning Oct. 1, 2017, and will have to use a debit payment app instead.

Marijuana taxes produced an unexpected boost in state revenues for July.

The Nevada Department of Taxation reports the wholesale and retail taxes produced a combined total of $3.68 million for the first month of retail sales.

Mike Willden, chief of staff to Gov. Brian Sandoval, said that's far more than expected primarily because revenue forecasters projected zero sales tax from retail sales for July, expecting that sales wouldn't start until August. Instead, the 10 percent retail sales tax from marijuana sales came in at $2.71 million.

In addition, he said the 15 percent wholesale tax included in the voter approved legalization law came in at $974,060. Willden said that nearly doubles the $500,000 it was projected to generate.

In addition to the tax revenue from July, Taxation reports licensing and application fees paid by marijuana businesses have generated some $6.5 million in state revenue. Taxation spokesman Stephanie Klapstein said that money, like the 15 percent wholesale excise tax, goes to schools after small administrative costs are deducted.

The money form the 10 percent retail tax, however, goes into the state's Rainy Day Fund, the account designed as a backstop in case of an economic recession.

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In all, Klapstein said the Taxation Department has received 333 applications for marijuana establishment licenses. The department has issued 250 licenses including 53 for retail stores, 92 cultivation facilities and 65 produce manufacturing facilities. It has also issued nine licenses for testing labs and 31 to pot distributors The vast majority of those licenses, 203, are in Clark County.

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