Last November, Nevadans voted yes on Question 2 to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. The ballot required the state to begin sales by January 1, 2018, but recently the Nevada Tax Commission approved temporary regulations that would allow businesses launch as early as July 1, 2017. The “early start” program’s proponents cite that there is a discrepancy in the new law because it is currently legal to possess marijuana, but not to purchase or sell marijuana. This has lead to an increase in sales by local black market dealers. Additionally, Nevada is depending on the estimated $70 million in tax revenue from marijuana sales to help fund public education, which we desperately need.

Who Will Be Allowed to Sell Marijuana for Recreational Use?

The only businesses eligible to participate in the early start program for recreational sale must already be established as medical marijuana facilities. The application period will begin in the middle of May and conclude at the end of the month. There will also be another short (5 day) application period that will take place later in the year. Nearly all of Nevada’s current 190 marijuana license holders are in good standing and are eligible to apply for a recreational license.

How Dispensaries Apply for a License

Applicants must pay a one-time, nonrefundable application fee of $5,000 plus a license fee of $20,000 for a retail store, $30,000 for a cultivation facility, $10,000 for a production and manufacturing facility, $15,000 for a testing facility and $15,000 for a marijuana distributor. Additionally, for the first 18 months of applications, only registered medical marijuana businesses can be accepted. Licenses that are issued during the early start period will only be valid until 90 after January 1, 2018.

What Does This Mean for Nevada?

The recreational marijuana industry is a huge opportunity, primarily for Las Vegas, to grow. In addition to the millions of dollars in tax revenue that the sale of recreational marijuana will provide, it will also increase tourism, as Nevada is now one of only eight states to have legal recreational marijuana use. New businesses mean more businesses, more businesses means more jobs, and more jobs means more money for the economy. Further, the regulation of the recreational marijuana industry will allow users easy access to medically tested and approved products while limiting the expansion of the black market which could lead to a reduction in drug related violence. It is an exciting time to be living in the entertainment capital of the world.