Nevada's legal marijuana industry: California poses little threat

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) California joins the legal marijuana club on New Year's Day. There's little concern about an impact on this side of the border.

With a six-month head start on its neighbor to the west, Nevada's marijuana industry has been doing well, in fact exceeding expectations..

Taxes collected in the first four months topped $19 million, a total divvied up between state and local governments and the state's schools.

Little of that--they say--is at risk on the eve of legalization in California.

It comes down to a matter of price. Nevada marijuana sales are subject to a 10 percent wholesale and 15 percent retail tax. Add up the various taxes which will be imposed in California and--depending on the location--customers will be paying twice that or even more.

So, there's little incentive for a Nevada customer to go next door and with sales and possession on either side limited to an ounce per person, it's unlikely a California resident makes that trip here to stock up.

Nevada shops say they do see California customers but believe most are tourists or those driving in from adjacent communities.

In any case, even when it's legal on both sides of the border, it will remain illegal--under federal law--to cross that border with any amount.

So, they say, it's most likely marijuana users on either side of the border will buy and use wherever they are--at home or visiting.

A spokesman for one company told us in the end legalization in any state--even one next door--was a positive. With each state joining the movement--and California will be the sixth including the District of Columbia--the day of national legalization gets that much closer.