Legal weed in Nevada makes bank on first day of sales

Legal weed in Nevada makes bank on first day of sales
A customer pays for cannabis products at Essence Vegas Cannabis Dispensary.
Source: Ethan Miller/Getty Images
A customer pays for cannabis products at Essence Vegas Cannabis Dispensary.
Source: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The state of Nevada launched its first day of recreational marijuana sales on Sunday accompanied by “fireworks, long lines and even a wedding,” becoming the eighth state to allow a commercial weed market, CNN reported.

Voters originally approved the law legalizing weed in November, but it took months for the state to set up the regulatory infrastructure necessary to implement sales. As CNBC noted, Nevada’s law comes into effect at a time when the nationwide marijuana market is booming, with financial firm Cowen and Co. estimating the industry could explode from its worth of $7 billion now to $50 billion in just a decade.

Some buyers waited half a day just to score a prime place in line in Nevada, according to USA Today, while at least one marijuana dispensary — dispensaries are cash-only businesses thanks to federal banking laws — staff had to obtain change from a men’s club down the street within minutes of opening.

Nevada’s law lets anyone 21 and older with a valid ID purchase up to an ounce of marijuana, but are only allowed to smoke it in private homes and keep it away from the Las Vegas Strip. According to the Associated Press, estimates are two out of three customers will be tourists.

According to a Quinnipiac University poll in April, some 60% of voters now say weed should be made legal across the United States, while just 34% remain in opposition; 94% of respondents supported “allowing adults to legally use marijuana for medical purposes if their doctor prescribes it.”

However, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has promised a crackdown on state-legalized recreational and medical marijuana sales, and even recently asked Congress for authority to go after medical providers, the Washington Post reported.

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Tom McKay

Tom is a staff writer at Mic, covering national politics, media, policing and the war on drugs. He is based in New York and can be reached at tmckay@mic.com.

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