Sales of legal recreational marijuana started today in Nevada. People lined up to buy the first ounces of pot in the state. According to the Nevada Department of Taxation, there are 44 establishments with a license to sell marijuana.
Adults who are 21 years old or older can be now in possession of an ounce of marijuana, without the fear of being arrested. This measure comes after 54 percent of voters in Nevada decided to legalize marijuana last year. The sales of recreational marijuana were set to start on January 1, 2018. However, the authorities of Nevada agreed to adopt regulations to start selling it earlier. Nevada became the fastest state to implement its rules on recreational marijuana sales.
“The marijuana prohibition era is finally coming to an end in Nevada,” said Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, the Drug Policy reform group that backed the state’s measure to legalize. “Adults will now be able to purchase marijuana similarly to how they purchase alcohol, from regulated businesses rather than criminals in the illegal market.”
Nevada joins Alaska Colorado, Washington, and Oregon
From today on, Nevada joins the group integrated by Alaska Colorado, Washington, and Oregon which are all the states that have outlawed recreational marijuana prohibitions and decided to start selling it legally. Until now, eight states in the U.S. have introduced laws to regulate and legalize recreational cannabis too. Even though, the efforts of these states to move for the decriminalization of marijuana, it is still illegal at a federal level.
Customers over 21 years old or older will be able to go to 44 legal dispensaries to buy up to an ounce of marijuana. Thirty-three licensed shops can be found in Las Vegas while four dispensaries are in Reno, according to the Nevada Department of Taxation which is in charge of this business in the state.
However, it is not as liberal as people might think; there are some restrictions yet. For example, people cannot use marijuana on the street or in the casinos and hotels of the state. Not obeying this can lead to a $600 fine. Nonetheless, some have wondered how exactly is this measure going to be enforced since a lot of people drink alcohol on the Las Vegas Strip, even if it is not permitted.
Nevada could be one of the largest recreational marijuana markets in the United States
Without a doubt, Nevada is a great destination for adult tourists inside and outside of the United States. Therefore, it can quickly become the biggest market for legal recreational marijuana, which can be translated into more taxes for the state.
However, Deonne Contine, executive director of the Department of Taxation, asks people for moderation, especially when it comes to edibles because they are much stronger than smoking. This statement was made on Friday, just a few hours away from when sales on the state started, which occurred at midnight.
“If Nevada is anything like Colorado, we’re likely to see people who have only smoked marijuana in the past try different products, like edibles,” Contine said. “Officials caution consumers to start with one serving that has no more than 10 milligrams of THC and wait at least two hours before having more. Check the labels on products before you buy so you know how much THC is in each product and serving size,” the statement read.
In Colorado, $1 billion in sales of recreational marijuana was achieved in 2016. It has a population of 5 million, and it receives about 70 million tourists a year.
Federal changes regarding marijuana could be on its way
However, there is another issue to be considered in Nevada on this matter, and that is keeping the stocks full. Though the authorized shops can sell the pot they already have, restocking on weed can be troublesome because there is a legal dispute over who gets the distribution licenses.
Under Obama’s administration, states had the liberty to design their own regulations and guidance regarding marijuana. However, this is not that clear with Mr. Donald Trump, since he has already highlighted the need do something about those who reform drug laws. Trump said during his presidential campaign that he would respect the autonomy of states regarding drug legalization. However, the Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, has warned states that have legalized recreational marijuana by saying that a federal crackdown could be on the way. Sessions is known to be completely against marijuana legalization.
Right now, Marijuana is the most popular illicit drug used in the country. In the last decades, its legalization gained a lot of supporters in every single state. Almost anybody refuses to accept marijuana for medical use. However, the support for recreational marijuana has reached historic highs recently. People think that states must decide what they want to do on this matter and about 76 percent of Americans would want Trump to keep Obama’s regulations, according to recent polls.
Source: The Huffington Post