CARSON CITY, Nev. (July 1, 2017) – Retail sales of recreation marijuana kicked off in Nevada today. This represents a another big step toward nullifying the unconstitutional federal prohibition of cannabis in effect.
Nevada voters approved Question 2 by a 54.5 to 45.5 percent margin last November. With passage of the “Initiative to Regulate and Tax Marijuana,” individuals age 21 and above can legally purchase, possess and consume up to one ounce of marijuana, or up to one-eighth of an ounce of edibles or concentrated cannabis. Individuals can also grow up to six marijuana plants for personal use.
It has been legal for adults to use marijuana inside private homes in Nevada since Jan. 1, but up until today, there has been no place to purchase recreational marijuana legally in the state. Initially, existing medical marijuana dispensaries will be able to sell inventory for recreation use. Earlier in the week, officials said they expected about 40 outlets would be approved for recreational sales.
There is some legal wrangling that could put some kinks in the roll-out of retail sales. as the Washington Post explains.
“A court order has denied pot distribution licenses to anyone other than the alcohol industry, which the state intends to appeal. The ballot measure passed by voters says liquor wholesalers have the exclusive right to transport marijuana from growers to retailers, the only legal pot state with such an arrangement. But existing dispensaries can sell their stockpiled inventory for recreational use until they run out, with most thinking they can last three weeks or longer. That means retail stores could have a supply shortage as August approaches. By then, however, the state should have issued at least some distribution licenses to alcohol wholesalers.”
According to 3 News Los Vegas, officials expect to generate around $60 million in tax revenue from recreational marijuana sales. Revenue will be directed toward schools.
The legalization of recreational marijuana will mean some changes in the taxing of medicinal cannabis. Under the new law, both medical and recreational marijuana will be subject to 15 percent tax at cultivation. Recreational marijuana will be sold with a 10 percent sales tax. The sales tax will be dropped for medical cannabis. Medical marijuana was formerly taxed 2 percent at cultivation, 2 percent at production and 2 percent at sale.
The federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) passed in 1970 prohibits all of this. Of course, the federal government lacks any constitutional authority to ban or regulate marijuana within the borders of a state, despite the opinion of the politically connected lawyers on the Supreme Court. If you doubt this, ask yourself why it took a constitutional amendment to institute federal alcohol prohibition.
Legalization of marijuana in Nevada removes another layer of laws prohibiting the possession and use of marijuana, but federal prohibition will remain on the books.
FBI statistics show that law enforcement makes approximately 99 of 100 marijuana arrests under state, not federal law. By mostly ending state prohibition, Nevada essentially sweeps away most of the basis for 99 percent of marijuana arrests.
Furthermore, figures indicate it would take 40 percent of the DEA’s yearly-budget just to investigate and raid all of the dispensaries in Los Angeles – a single city in a single state. That doesn’t include the cost of prosecution. The lesson? The feds lack the resources to enforce marijuana prohibition without state assistance.
A GROWING MOVEMENT
Nevada was one of eight states that had measures on the ballot to to legalize marijuana for either for medical or general adult use last fall. This was the largest number of states that have considered nullifying marijuana prohibition in a single election cycle. Seven of the eight passed.
The state joins a growing number that are simply ignoring federal prohibition, and nullifying it in practice. Colorado, Washington state, Oregon and Alaska have all legalized both recreational and medical marijuana, and more than two-dozen states now allow cannabis for medical use.
With more than half the country legalizing marijuana, the feds find themselves in a position where they simply can’t enforce prohibition any more.
The lesson here is pretty straight forward. When enough people say, ‘No!’ to the federal government, and enough states pass laws backing those people up, there’s not much the feds can do to shove their so-called laws, regulations or mandates down our throats.