Article by Colton Lockhead, Las Vegas Review-Journal
Gov. Brian Sandoval wants a special tax on recreational marijuana sales to boost his budget, but state lawmakers and industry executives are concerned that his proposal might be too high.
The worry, they say, is that if the taxes on recreational sales balloon too much and prices get too high, some Nevadans might forgo the legal market altogether.
Sandoval announced during Tuesday’s State of the State address that his proposed two-year budget calls for a 10 percent special tax on the retail sales of marijuana, which he expects will generate $70 million to go towards public education.
But lawmakers like Sen. Patricia Farley, I-Las Vegas, say they’re worried the tax, on top of the 15 percent wholesale tax, could lead to Nevada mirroring one of the biggest issues of Colorado’s legalization effort: a still-thriving black market.
“It’s a very price-sensitive product. We just have to be really mindful that we don’t create a black market,” Farley said.
In Colorado, the first state to allow the sale of recreational marijuana, the street price of illegally sold marijuana can be half that of the legal recreational product. And plenty of folks have been willing to risk the illegal buy, according to police in the state.
Farley’s worries are echoed by those in the marijuana industry.