Nevada is getting an amended marijuana program as of July 1st. This program has been reviewed and changed over the last season. There are some wins in the new bill for those supporting marijuana. Even though there are aspects that are beneficial there are still may portions that need work before the state can embrace marijuana usage to its fullest potential.
Republicans and Democrats have been working to revise this program. The finished product will determine how the state handles everything marijuana related for two years.
Some of the aspects that leave much to be desired include the fact medical marijuana users are not able to purchase a gun. Anyone that has an opioid addiction still cannot be treated with marijuana. Not for a lack of trying on the part of Democrats. Tourists are still unable to smoke in unrestricted with the ending of the public consumption bill.
Even though this part of the bill has been unable to change there are many changes that are moving in the right direction. Marijuana in Nevada has seen changes in the way it is labeled, taxes, and how the state will regulate both the medical and the recreational side.
Dispensaries Run by Tribes
There has been interest with some of the tribes in Nevada in starting their own dispensaries. With the passing of this new program they may see this come to fruition.
Tribes will be able to enter into compacts with the state with a bill that was sponsored by Segerblom. These compacts will allow the tribes to open a marijuana dispensaries. Dispensaries will need to follow the state law and requirements that other dispensaries already follow.
With this new development there are still questions of how these dispensaries will be ran. Whether the tribes will oversee the dispensaries or state agencies has not been announced. State licensed marijuana establishments are continually checked in on by state agencies.
Taxes on medical and recreational marijuana are different. Republicans attempted to stop a ten percent retail tax that was set on recreational marijuana. This effort fell through and the tax was passed in the last moments of the bill.
When looking at the tax revenue that marijuana has and will bring in Governor Brian Sandoval made a projection of what the sales for recreational use would be. In the next two years he expects more than $60 million will be brought in by recreational marijuana sales.
Right now medical marijuana is only taxed two percent at cultivation, production and sale. This is going to change in July. Both medical and recreational marijuana will be taxed fifteen percent at cultivation. However, only recreational will see the ten percent sales tax.
What is made from this cultivation tax will go towards Nevada schooling. Any revenue that is made from recreational marijuana sales will go to the excess fund for the state.
The money will not be allocated or budgeted as expected revenue. With this industry being so new it is hard to predict just how much will come in. By using the money as needed versus depending on the money the state will not find themselves in trouble later if sales are not as good as projected.
Recreational marijuana will be taxed more than medical because the state wants to keep costs lower for medical usage. Medical usage needs to be available to those that need it at a lower cost than those that are choosing to use it without a doctor's recommendation.
Even though the money will not be depended on for the state's schools the bill was made to allow the state to pull from the revenue at any time. If there is funding needed for education it can be taken from the revenue from marijuana sales.
There has been a cap put on the licensing fee that marijuana organizations must pay. Cities may not charge more than three percent of the organization's gross revenue.
The Black Market and Recreational Marijuana
A concern with marijuana sales is competing with the black market. The state would like to move towards helping people with medical marijuana and providing recreational marijuana for those that want it without them turning to the black market.
The difference in price for marijuana at a dispensaries compared to buying it on the street is great. A person may purchase an ounce of marijuana at a medical dispensary for around $300 where they are able to purchase it on the street for less than $100.
It is hard to compete with the pricing of street marijuana while still factoring the costs of running dispensaries, the legal feels, and the taxes that come with.
With the option to get recreational marijuana the sales on the black market will hopefully drop. Depending on the activity at dispensaries versus black market sales the taxes will need to be altered when the bill is renewed in two years.
There was concern voiced over the black market growing in sales to compete with recreational marijuana dispensaries. No answer was given to this proposed problem. The data on the black market sales in Nevada as still theoretical. Instead of basing taxing information on this information they opted to look at other states that have marijuana sales.
The dispensaries will be able to control their own retail prices. With this in mind they will need to consider what it will take to compete with the black market not to mention with California. Depending on how well the dispensaries do in sales could change what legislators decide to do with the taxes on marijuana in two years.
Giving access to medical marijuana was a focus when creating the new marijuana program. With recreational marijuana available the medical marijuana industry could die out. With the process to get medical marijuana as difficult as it was many people may have opted to purchase it recreationally instead.
To help combat this problem getting medical marijuana will be easier. The program could have used some updates from the beginning and it is great to see them being implemented in the new program.
The medical cards that are required to purchase medical marijuana will now be half the price. They had cost one hundred dollars for a year. The cut in price is due to the change in background checks.
When getting a medical card you will no longer need to undergo a background check.
This background check had stopped people from obtaining medical cards. If you had a criminal background you were not able to get a card. Meaning you could not get access to the medical marijuana you needed.
Not only are they doing away with background check the card will now be good for two years.
Background checks are no longer needed because anyone can purchase marijuana now because there is access to recreational marijuana. Since anyone can go get recreational marijuana it makes needing a background check obsolete.
By making the medical marijuana side of sales more accessible more people will be willing to go through the process to get a medical card. The program is now part of the Department of Taxation's administrative duties.
This does not change where you get a medical card through. To obtain a medical card you will still go through the Department of Public Health.
Dangers of Edibles
There are concerns about the dangers of having edibles accessible to everyone. The main concern was children getting a hold of edible marijuana and taking it.
To help combat this problem marijuana packaging has been restricted. Anything that may entice a child to use or eat marijuana is prohibited from being on the package. This includes items like mascots, cartoons, action figures, toys, and balloons.
The edibles must also avoid resembling other foods that are typically targeted at children. These foods include sweets like suckers or gummy bears.
The Senator that worked on this bill was Patricia Farley. She had started working on this portion of the bill because of her personal concern for the children of Nevada. As a mother of two she felt the matter was close to home and worked to help keep children safe from accidental consumption.
She was not only concentrated on keeping children from consuming these products. She also implemented proper labeling to include warnings. These warnings are tailored around pregnant women and their consumption of marijuana products.
The labeling also outlined the recommendation to avoid consuming too much of an edible. It is recommended to wait four hours to allow an edible to have full effect. Edibles are potent and can take a longer amount of time to start taking effect.
There are also limitations outlined in the bill on the dose of different marijuana products. It does depend on the kind of product but most will not contain more than 800 milligrams in total.
Since edibles are a food product that is not regulated there is more labeling on the packaging under the new bill. People should know what they are purchasing when they are getting an edible. The date of production needs to be stated on the label now.
Edibles were not regulated and without production dates there was a change to get food poisoning. If a dispensaries did not watch their products closely they could have been potentially too old to sell.
The labels must also state that there is marijuana in the product. It needs to be clear and easy to read. The message “this is a marijuana product.” will appear in bold print on all edible packaging.
Driving with Marijuana in Your System
As of July 1st recreational marijuana will be available to the public. To determine if people are driving under the influence of marijuana law enforcement will only be able to use blood test to test for marijuana.
Urine tests have been used to determine if marijuana is in a person's system. These tests are able to test for the components in marijuana but they are not able to tell law enforcement if you are impaired by marijuana.
The blood tests that are used are not able to tell when a person has consumed marijuana. They are also unable to judge if someone is impaired by their use of marijuana if it is found in their system.
Changes in Convictions
With the changes in how marijuana is found in a person's system there are also changes for people who have already been convicted of possessing marijuana. If a person was convicted of possessing marijuana and had under an ounce of marijuana they are able to file to erase all judgment. Once the judgment is erased the records will also be sealed.
Not all convictions will be able to be erased. If the conviction of marijuana was also linked with a sexual crime, a violent crime, or child abuse the person will not be able to erase the judgment. Judgments will only be erased and sealed if they stand alone.
With this change people may find their lives a bit easier if these convictions are not on their record. They will be able to apply for other jobs, get into different living situations, and other opportunities that may have been denied because of a conviction will now be available to them.
The bill that is taking effect on July 1st brings a lot of exciting changes to the world of marijuana sales in Nevada. People will have more access to medical marijuana without going through background checks. Tribes will have the ability to start their own dispensary. Medical and recreations marijuana sales will bring in revenue for the state to use as needed for education.
There is still a long road a head of us to get marijuana law where it should be. There are many laws that still need to be altered to help everyone have access to marijuana. However, Nevada's new bill is a step in the right direction and will hopefully pave the way for more states to follow suit.