Marijuana News Roundup: Nevada Kicks Off Recreational Sales

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Nevada on Saturday became the fifth state to allow sales of marijuana for recreational use. Voters in California, Maine, and Massachusetts also approved recreational sales of marijuana in last November’s elections, but Nevada is first out of the gate actually selling pot.

Nevada allows consumers to possess one ounce of marijuana. State and federal law prohibit sales of marijuana on Las Vegas’s famous Strip and pot is prohibited in casinos, bars, restaurants, parks, concerts and all federal property. Marijuana may only be smoked in a person’s home and there is a $600 for smoking pot in public.

Still, supporters like former Las Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman, are delighted: “We in Las Vegas have always been on the cutting edge of all things necessary to make us an adult wonderland.” Adding legal pot sales is expected to make the city more attractive to tourists.

The state also expects pot sales to rev up its tax collections. With some 43 million visitors to Las Vegas last year, the state expects a sharp boost in revenues even if every visitor does not partake. Legal pot is taxed at 25% of the retail price: a 15% cultivation tax and a 10% sales tax.

Everything is not going entirely smoothly however. As we noted in our report on pot prices yesterday, alcohol distributors have been granted an injunction in their suit against the state for issuing distribution licenses. The alcohol distributors were to be given an 18-month head start on pot distribution as part of the initiative approved by voters last November.

Talks on Revamped Marijuana Bill to Resume After Missed Deadline
[Massachusetts] House and Senate negotiators hoping to hammer out a compromise over the state’s recreational marijuana law failed to meet a self-imposed deadline Friday aimed at getting a final bill to Republican Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk and plan to get back to negotiations next week.

A six-member conference committee shed little light on its discussions while meeting off and on behind closed doors with little apparent progress Friday.

A spokeswoman for Democrat Patricia Jehlen — the Senate’s chief negotiator — said late Friday conferees “are making good progress” and plan to continue negotiations on Wednesday, after the Fourth of July holiday.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo earlier adjourned the House until Monday.

Democratic Rep. Mark Cusack, the chief House negotiator, said earlier in the day he remained “hopeful” for an agreement. His counterpart in the Senate, Democrat Patricia Jehlen, replied, “I can’t say that,” when asked if the conference committee was deadlocked.

Read more at CBSBoston.