RENO, Nev. (News 4 & Fox 11) — It's been about a year and a half since marijuana dispensaries started selling recreational marijuana in Nevada.
Most involved in the industry will tell you it's been a smooth transition with a lot of learning on the fly. We wanted to know what those involved in recreational marijuana thought was in store for the future of pot here.
We started at GTI’s marijuana production facility in Carson City. There we encountered a handful of busy fingered Millennials packing joints in a small room, listening to Dire Straits jam out on the radio.
These are just a few of the 8,300 jobs fueled by Nevada's fledgling marijuana industry.
Marine, and former Carson City manager Nick Marano is their new boss. “Here's a new industry, it's fun. We're building it. There's definitely challenges along the way, but this is an exciting time to be in cannabis,” he told us.
That excitement is enhanced by the added jobs and tax dollars eclipsing most expectations so far. Governor Steve Sisolak is fully on board with Nevada's latest hit.
He and state lawmakers are currently in the process of creating a Nevada cannabis compliance board. The agency will oversee rules and regulations, and not blow smoke when it comes to being transparent. “I want applicants and the public to know what's going on in the system and thus far that hasn't been the case,” says Sisolak. “If we're going to continue to allow this industry to flourish, and that's my intent, that's what we need to do.”
Those invested in the industry are hoping the future of pot in Nevada includes fair tax policy. Finding that balance to keep pot companies successful and customers not priced out of the legal market.
“I don't think there is an effort to convince everyone to try it,” says Riana Durrett of the Nevada Dispensary Association. “I think there's an effort to educate people. If you're going to try marijuana buy it legally and not illegally.”
As far as local law enforcement, the main measurable factor in the first year and a half of legal marijuana is an increase in DUIs.
Washoe county sheriff Darin Balaam also told us legalization hasn't done much to snuff out the black market here. “We've always tried to combat it, and we'll continue that and even though its legal, my biggest concern is to tell the community to be responsible like anything else,” Balaam says.
Like it or not, it looks like pot is here to stay, and many more states are likely to legalize it in coming years.
Question is, will the federal government eventually join the party as well.