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Las Vegas cannabis industry reflects on a record year of financial growth

'We’re slowly but surely eroding the black market'
Posted at 12:25 AM, Oct 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-14 10:38:41-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Cannabis is booming. New numbers from Nevada’s Cannabis Compliance Board and Department of Taxation show the marijuana industry had more than $1 billion in taxable sales in the last year.

What these figures really show is that it is a product everyone is becoming more and more comfortable with.

And these gains are for the history books.

RELATED: Marijuana industry reports more than $1 billion in taxable sales in Nevada

“It existed in the shadows for so long—you’d probably have to talk to someone from the 20s and 30s when alcohol was finally legalized,” said David Goldwater, a managing partner at Inyo Fine Cannabis Dispensary.

From July 2020 to June 2021, marijuana has generated over a billion dollars in taxable sales in Nevada, and $791 million of that was in Clark County.

“I think we’re slowly but surely eroding the black market that existed for cannabis at the time," he said. "So, very excited about not only what this industry has done, but where it’s going to go.”

“It’s very encouraging just being in the cannabis industry and seeing results like that in such a short period of time,” said Summer Cabrera, the marketing manager at Planet 13.

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And the state needs plenty of budtenders.

“Three years ago, we could run this shop with 15, 20 people," said Goldwater. "We’re up to 35+ people in a single shop.”

“We are growing and with that said, with that sales floor expansion, we did hire as necessary," said Cabrera. "But we’re trying to keep up with the pace.”

Gross sales figures have a lot of components—county tax, sales tax, excise tax—there’s a lot of money that comes out for taxes. And $159 million goes toward the Distributive School Account fund.

“So, schools benefit, people benefit from jobs, owners in the industry benefit from the growing industry,” said Goldwater.

Cannabis is not pandemic-proof. The state’s regulatory and political leadership helped it move along and achieve the sales figures it sees today.

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Curbside sales were born in the pandemic, and are now the norm in the business.

“Like any business, it forced us to change for the better," said Goldwater. "And those of us that did change for the better, I think the customer’s happier.”

The biggest marijuana business event, MJBizCon, starts Wednesday, Oct. 20, and the momentum from this past year is not expected to stop any time soon.