Bill would allow marijuana companies to combine recreational, medical products

Updated April 11, 2017 - 8:36 pm

CARSON CITY — Marijuana companies would not have to separate medical and recreational products under a bill heard Tuesday in the Nevada Legislature.

Because medical and recreational marijuana face different tax rates, cannabis companies would need to designate portions of their products to be either medical or recreational once the latter’s market opens up this year.

Assembly Bill 463, sponsored by Assemblyman Nelson Araujo, D-Las Vegas, would alter the tax on medical marijuana to put it in line with the 15 percent tax Question 2 levies on the wholesale market value price of recreational, which is set by the Department of Taxation.

That means that unlike Colorado, where medical and recreational marijuana are divided up and tracked separately from seed to sale, cannabis companies could use the same product for both programs. And only the final price, where recreational products would be taxed more, would be different.

The bill would also put a combined 5 percent cap on fees and taxes that local governments can charge marijuana companies.

Will Adler, a marijuana industry lobbyist, noted that Colorado’s model caused the state to beef up staffing to regulate it the separate products.

David Goldwater, a board member for the Nevada Dispensary Association, called Colorado’s method “cumbersome,” and said the separation of products was one the major things lawmakers from other states told them to avoid.

Goldwater also said the model would mean fewer taxes would be passed onto medical marijuana patients.

Tax department director Deonne Contine testified as neutral on the bill, but said she agreed that identical tax structures would be efficient.

Contact Colton Lochhead at or 702-383-4638. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

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