By Brian Bahouth
Updated – 6-4-17 – 5:44 AM
Reno – In his 2017 State of the State Address, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval said he would impose a 10 percent tax at point of sale for adult use marijuana products sold in Nevada, and Nevada Senate Bill 487 would impose a 10 percent excise tax on the retail sale of marijuana and direct the money toward education, but on June 1, with roughly 72 hours remaining in the current 120 day, biennial legislative session, SB 487 failed to pass the Nevada Senate with the needed two thirds majority.
A super majority is needed because the measure imposes a new tax, but the bill was “lost” on a party line vote, 12D-9R.
A bipartisan row over school vouchers has threatened to derail the mandatory passage of a core funding bill, and according to several reports, the Republicans in the Senate voted no on the marijuana tax in protest over the disagreement on Educational Savings Accounts.
But Republican Governor Sandoval is planning for cannabis taxes to makeup five to seven percent of state education funding over the biennium. Without his 10 percent marijuana excise tax, the projection of $140 million dollars in marijuana tax revenue for schools will have to be revised.
Whether the 10 percent sales tax finds a legislative vehicle at this late our in the session is uncertain.
The Legislature is set to adjourn on June 5, but following the rancorous breakdown in the Senate over Educational Savings Accounts many other bills are likely imperiled in the scrum.
Senate Bill 344 would further tighten regulations on the packaging of marijuana edibles, a Republican favorite. This bill passed the Assembly on a 37-4 vote on June 3 and is bound for the Governor’s desk.
On Friday June 2, Governor Sandoval signed SB 375. SB 375 would allow the governor to enter into compacts that allow tribal marijuana businesses to participate in the state system of regulation for medical or adult use cannabis.
The Governor vetoed Senate Bill 374, a measure that would have prohibited “a professional licensing board from taking disciplinary action against a licensee who holds a registry identification card or engages in certain lawful activities relating to marijuana; prohibiting an employer from taking adverse action against an employee for expressing opinions relating to marijuana.”
Also on Friday, Governor Sandoval signed a hemp bill into law, Senate Bill 396. The new law will create a pilot program intended to establish industrial scale production of hemp in Nevada, separate from the agricultural pilot program already underway and meant to build a Nevada-based hemp seed stock. Currently hemp seed is excruciatingly expensive and tightly regulated by the US Drug Enforcement Agency, so the development of a regional seed stock is an emphasis for state agriculture officials. The bill would also allow Nevada hemp products to be sold in Nevada dispensaries, to include hemp oil.