In November, we the people will have the choice to legalize recreational marijuana. But how could it affect our economy? And how is money already playing a role?
Approximately “60% of Nevadans are in favor of legalization” currently. When it comes to Sin City, some say legalizing weed is only natural. Most Nevadans recognize the potential of pot in a city already making billions in gaming revenue and housing more than 42,000,000 visitors annually. The potential of legal weed in a tourist destination such as Las Vegas could lead to the creation of the “Amsterdam of the West.” And it all depends on how the voters will vote for Question 2—the legalization of marijuana for recreational use—in Nevada.
With the coming months until the election, there will be lots of money spent from both opponents and proponents of legalized weed. One recent news story reported that the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol will spend $800,000 on pro-marijuana TV advertisements alone. The pro-marijuana ads will begin playing in early October until Election Day. This money mainly comes from the support of large Nevada marijuana companies, Nevada business persons, and the Nevada Dispensary Association, along with casino developer Gary Primm and his son.
Considering the fact that Sheldon Adelson almost single-handedly funded the Florida initiative against medical marijuana and purchased the Las Vegas Review-Journal for $140 million, we suspect some money will be spent on the opposing side of Question 2, although very little has been spent on the opponents side thus far.
Along with Sheldon Adelson, the Coalition Against Legalizing Marijuana and Nevadans for Responsible Drug Policy are also in the mix opposing Question 2. Other organizations, especially the Nevada gaming industry, are expected to start spending money to create their own TV ads opposing Question 2. Why? Because the gaming industry cannot benefit from legalized marijuana while it remains federally illegal.
The biggest group planning to pour millions into fighting against legalization is Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM). They’ve raised over $2 million and are expected to spend this money to fight legalization in California, Arizona, Nevada, Massachusetts and Maine. But is it enough? We’ll just have to wait and see.
Everyone knows that legalizing marijuana can bring a lot of new money to the economy. Anyone who is unsure of this fact can take a nice hard look at the Colorado economy, which now has enough surplus money to spend $1.5 million to help the homeless population.
If marijuana legalization passes, the department of taxation would oversee regulation. Proponents say cannabis could create millions in tax revenue if our profits are anything like Colorado. In 2015, Colorado collected more than $85.2 million in tax revenue from recreational marijuana alone. Here in Nevada, Questions 2 will place a 15% wholesale tax on pot, which will all go to our school system.
How do people know pot will bring in money to Nevada the way it brought in money to Colorado? The simple is: pot will increase tourism, which will increase money spent in the state.
Some marijuana proponents suggest that recreational marijuana may create “$7.5 billion in activity during the first seven years.” Other findings include the following projections:
The fact is pot has become a billion dollar industry in Colorado, and it could do the same or better in Nevada. As Tick Segerblom states, “If we do this right, this will be a major boom to tourism, which is our economy.”
What if Nevada doesn’t legalize marijuana for recreational purposes in November? Everything continues on the way it is now. Medical marijuana will still be sold to medical marijuana patients. Our school system will not receive any additional funding for improvement. Casinos that can’t benefit from marijuana will continue to dominate the tourism industry.
You may not see cannabis in the casinos anytime soon, but it is safe to say that marijuana is closer to legalization in Nevada than ever before.
To learn more about marijuana legalization and get access to safe and legal medical marijuana in Nevada, stop by our medical marijuana dispensary. Located just 500 feet from the Strip, we are open seven days a week and are ready to answer all your questions in regards to marijuana legalization and the benefits of medical marijuana.