Nevada’s marijuana regulators receive $1.5 million to deal with demand

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Nevada’s Interim Finance Committee approved an additional $1.5 million for the Department of Taxation to hire more security guards and staff to process background checks for workers at marijuana facilities.

Regulators say they are trying to keep up with demand at recreational dispensaries, where sales have surpassed projections every month since recreational marijuana became legal last July, the Nevada Appeal reported.

Operations at Nevada’s marijuana facilities haven’t been affected, but it takes the state “several months” to process state agent cards required to work in retail, wholesale and processing of both medical and recreational marijuana, said Joe Brezny, a cannabis consultant for Parallax Strategies in Las Vegas, and the spokesman for the state’s ballot item that legalized adult use.

“No one knew how much work this was going to be or how much staffing it would take,” he said. “The department has handled this remarkably well and stayed in compliance but weren’t staffed to do it perfectly.”

Taxation Director Bill Anderson told the Interim Finance Committee the workload is severely straining existing staff.

Recreational sales reached $41 million in sales in March, the highest monthly total to date. That total was up 16% from February and up 14.5% from the previous monthly record of $35.8 million in December.

“It’s pretty obvious things have gotten off to a stronger start than what was anticipated,” Anderson said. “We’ve collected 97 percent of the taxes we thought we would collect for the entire year.”

Taxes on medicinal and recreational marijuana in the first nine months totaled $49 million; the fiscal year projection was $50.3 million.

– Associated Press and Marijuana Business Daily