If you're a pothead who loves to gamble, then Las Vegas is definitely for you. If you're a poker player who partakes in the weed, then you're in luck. You can toke, vape, eat, and sip your way to a heady buzz while mesmerized by the bright lights of Sin City and busting donks. And yes, there's even a dispensary within walking distance to the Rio Casino a.k.a. home to the World Series of Poker. That's great news if you bust in one of the weekend donkaments and want to smoke your way off tilt.
It always seemed a little odd that a state with legalized prostitution would not have a similar stance to marijuana. You can't really boast the Sin City brand while looking to the other way to hypocritical and antiquated drug laws. Alas, state residents voted to legalize medicinal marijuana at the turn of the century, but it took nearly 15 years before the first medical weed shops opened its doors. The push for legal weed in Nevada took over two decades, which finally passed in November 2016. The first recreational shops for both locals and tourists opened their doors on July 1, 2017.
Nevada's Department of Taxation released official figures for their first year of legalized recreational marijuana sales. In 2017, the state collected over $30 million in tax revenue for the first six months of sales from July to December. Overall, regulated marijuana sales in Nevada passed $200 million for 2017. That's an average of $33.3 million a month. At the current rate, it looks like Nevada will pass $420 million in sales in 2018.
Colorado legalized cannabis by vote in 2012, but the first rec stores did not open to the public until January 1, 2014. The first six months of legal weed sales in Colorado netted $11 million in taxes, compared to $30 million in Nevada. At the moment, Colorado's monthly sales net approximately $100 million. Yes, marijuana is a BILLION DOLLAR industry in Colorado. Rocky Mountain High, indeed!
The first legal sales in Nevada began in July 2017 and the first month of Nevada's sales surpassed Colorado's inaugural month in January 2014. Cannabis revenue in Nevada increased every month with the exception of November, before returning to business as usual in December. October 2017 was a super-heady month for Nevada when sales peaked at $38 million.
At least $19.5 million in sales tax were generated from marijuana sales at a 10% rate at retail stores. Supposedly the retail tax is allocated to the state's "rainy day fund." Nevada also levies a 15% wholesale tax on all sales (both medicinal and recreational). That specific tax is allocated to Nevada's education budget.
The Department of Taxation estimated that Nevada will collect $56 million in tax revenue during the first two years of legalization. In only six months of operation, they are more than halfway there with $30 million.
For all you WSOP-loving potheads and cannabis connoisseurs, the Apothecary Shoppe is located on Flamingo, next door to the Gold Coast Casino and across the street from the Palms. It's a short walk from the Rio Casino. They sell pre-roll joints and have a decent collection of flowers.
Las Vegas Legal Weed Dispensary
The Apothecary Shoppe
4240 W Flamingo Road, Las Vegas, NV 89103
Open 24 HOURS
Disclaimer: I have visited cannabis shops in four legal states, including the Apothecary Shoppe in Nevada. I wish I was getting a free doobie for pimping them, but this is a free ad!
Yes, the taxes on legal weed seem redonkulously high at first glance, but over time the average price will decrease. I've seen it happen in both Colorado and Washington state. It takes approximately two years before prices level off.
Nevada isn't the best place to grow outdoor weed (versus the juicy yields farmers would get in Humboldt County and other nooks in Northern California's Emerald Triangle such as Mendocino County and Trinity County). However, there's no shortage of growing ops in state. Nevada relies heavily on tourism and legal cannabis is just another racket that can generate free money by taxing the vices of people who want to party.
With the WSOP around the corner, I'm eagerly awaiting WSOP-themed cannabis strains like OG Donkey Kush, Ivey GOAT, Super Fedor Haze, and Chainsaw Nit Cookies. If you're a grower in Nevada, please call me… I have lots of ideas.
Just remember to smoke all your bud before you fly home! If you space out, don't worry… the airport added amnesty boxes to anyone who forgets to ditch the last bit of their herb. I'd love to be the guy who gets to empty those bins!
In the meantime, I leave you with this gem that was sung by our heroes from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas…