Nevada marijuana sales up 20% in 2019, but COVID-19 slows progress

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Nevada marijuana sales for 2019 reached $692 million, a 20% increase from fiscal year 2018, but lost sales stemming from the market disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic is throwing cold water on future projections.

That information comes from a new study by Las Vegas-based RCG Economics.

The report, “2020 Marijuana Economic & Fiscal Benefits Analysis: Nevada,” was commissioned by the Nevada Dispensary Association (NDA) to highlight revenue and other economic impacts the cannabis industry has had in Nevada in 2020.

The economic impact study projects that total marijuana sales in Nevada will hit $956 million by 2024. One caveat: The report and projections were based on pre-coronavirus conditions.

Nevada’s economy is largely dependent on tourist visits to Las Vegas and other areas of the state. So, because tourism has been dramatically slowed by the COVID-19 outbreak, those expectations must be tempered.

“Although COVID-19 may result in lower-than-projected sales and collections, it is helpful to know what the industry is capable of accomplishing and contributing to the state, given the right conditions,” said Riana Durrett, executive director of the NDA.

According to the report, Nevada’s marijuana industry created an estimated 8,200 jobs in licensed cannabis establishments and an additional 2,000 ancillary positions.

Earlier this month, recreational cannabis retailers in Nevada were allowed to resume in-store transactions.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, regulators initially allowed adult-use sales only via delivery, then later permitted curbside pickups.

For more of Marijuana Business Daily’s ongoing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and its effects on the cannabis industry, click here.