Carson City dispensaries open for recreational marijuana sales
For some Carson City residents the new year started on a high note.
Monday, Carson City legalized recreational marijuana, so that residents over 21 years old no longer needed a medical marijuana card to buy cannabis.
“This transfer is the No. 1 way to combat black market sales because you can tax, standardize and control that,” said Will Adler, executive director of the Sierra Cannabis coalition. “… and for me, this is a personal victory because I have been advocating for this for a long time coming.”
The adult-use market has been in effect in Nevada since July, anyone over the age of 21 can possess up to one ounce of marijuana.
In Carson, there are two facilities that previously could only provide medicinal marijuana and residents have had to travel to other parts of Northern Nevada and California to buy recreational products.
“The biggest thing is that we can now provide recreational products in the city so it is a little closer to home for people,” said Tyler Brennan, manager of RISE. “People had to drive to Reno or Incline Village which is a drive.”
Most other areas in Northern Nevada have legalized recreational and have been operating that way since July.
In addition to the convenience, Carson City also receives a 3 percent sales tax from its business license fee on gross sales. So far Nevada has earned $20 million in marijuana tax revenue since the start of July.
For Carson, the city imposed the maximum percent allowed by the Legislature.
“So Carson City took the stance that if we are going to have recreational marijuana … it is important to represent to the people of Carson City to charge as much as we could,” Adler said.
He said the Board of Supervisors wanted to take their time looking at enacting the legislation to make sure it was the best decision.
“The mindset of the board was by imposing this we are going at our own pace and know the pros and cons before,” Adler said.
But day one of recreational sales they saw a decent amount of traffic come, Brennan said.
“We had less than anticipated but that could be because of the holiday, but we have no incidents and we are happy with the flow,” Brennan said. “The feedback has been great, we are very education based so people know what to do with the products and get the right one.”
Even though recreational marijuana is now legal, there still are regulations to it. It is still illegal to consume in public, illegal to drive under the influence, illegal to buy anywhere but a state-licensed store, and illegal for anyone under 21 to possess or buy.
Heather Ashbridge, who started with Nevada State Development Corporation in 2008, previously served in several roles with the organization, including assistant vice president and loan officer. She is based in NSDC’s Reno office.