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Sin City Gets Even Sinnier 

Recreational cannabis comes to Nevada

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On July 1, Nevada joined the "cool cannabis kids" club when it became the 5th state to offer legalized adult use cannabis, or in less wonky terminology, recreational cannabis. (Mandatory cannabis columnist disclaimer: Kids, you can be cool without cannabis, too! It's rare, but still possible.)

A total of 44 dispensaries were allowed to begin selling to recreational buyers, with 39 of those located in Las Vegas. Sales were strong, with the Nevada Dispensary Association estimating that between $3 to 5 million of cannabis/cannabis products were sold during the first weekend. Taxes are projected to hit $30 million in the first year, although many believe that amount could be under projected, as it was in Colorado, Washington and Oregon.

Most everyone I know visits Las Vegas at some point during the calendar year—it sees 45 million tourists a year—be it to escape the Northwest winters, attend a convention, or test out your new guaranteed system at the blackjack table. Yet as someone who rarely drinks or gambles, (Mr. Excitement!) aside from eating mushrooms and watching the Bellagio dancing fountains, Vegas doesn't have much to offer me. But if I can cop some jazz tobacco without the man disrupting my vibe, I may be more inclined to make the trip.

Before you opt not to carry your stash down with you, get hip to what's up in Sin City. Some things mirror our system in Oregon (consumption), while some do not (get ready to pay top dollar.)

Drinking on the strip is fine. Smoking is not - Chug that fifth of vodka in your best Nick Cage "Leaving Las Vegas" impersonation while you make your way down the Strip, but don't even think about lighting up, Hempo. A first offense can get you a $600 fine. (And no, I'm certain the liquor lobby had no role in getting that rule passed, why do you ask?)

Where can i smoke? Great question! You can't, anywhere, ever. Now go screw yourself, Kyle the Tourist.

Well, you can smoke it in a private residence that you own, or a rental if you have permission. But other places, such as parks, hotels, bars and cafes, will prohibit it. Casinos? Great news! You can smoke tobacco in many casinos, but not cannabis. (And no, I'm certain the tobacco lobby had no role in getting that rule passed, why do you ask?)

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What's this gonna run me? That 20 percent tax you've been bitching about here at home looks pretty good compared to the 33 percent tax you will be paying in Nevada. You need an eighth for your stay? That will be $80, please. An ounce of top shelf will run you $400 or higher.

(Spit take) - Yeah, I know. The taxes are a part of this obscenity; growers have a 15 percent excise tax imposed upon them, and there is a 15 percent tax on wholesale cannabis sales. But those prices may be attributed to some price gouging on the part of some growers, due to a recent court ruling.

This is a fun story, so pay attention: Nevada cannabis regulatory officials decided that cannabis needed to be treated like alcohol, and decreed that for the first year and a half of adult use sales, licensed distributors of alcohol would be the only ones allowed to handle the transport of cannabis from grower to dispensary. Except there wasn't enough interest from the booze jockeys, so the application process was opened up to other providers. Rut ro. The industry group for liquor distributors sued, and in May, a court ruled in their favor. But as no distributor has yet been licensed, there is no one who may legally transport cannabis. This led to dispensaries attempting to stock up like it was End of Days, as they have no idea when deliveries will happen again. In the past month, prices for a wholesale pound jumped from $1,600 to $2,600. As of July 7, the governor endorsed a "state of emergency," as dispensaries were beginning to run out. This will allow the state to consider additional transportation options.

How much can I buy? Up to an ounce of flower, 3.5 grams of concentrate, and edibles are limited to 100 mg.

And use what you buy, because you can't fly home with it.


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