State figures show Marijuana Tax Revenue for the first three months of fiscal 2020 is nearly $30 million, putting it on pace to overtake mining as Nevada’s primary contributor of state tax proceeds.
Recreational marijuana use became legal in Nevada in 2017.
Mining, by contrast, has recently produced upwards of $7 billion in gross sales, according to a report in the Nevada Current, with the state’s bedrock industry paying $125 million in state and local taxes.
“I think the contrast between how this state treats mining and cannabis reveals the outsize influence and crony capitalism of the mining industry,” said Patrick Donnelly, Nevada State Director for the Center for Biological Diversity. “While cannabis, an industry mostly domestic to our state, is taxed to the gills, mining, almost all profits of which end up out of state, enjoys a highly privileged tax status which doesn’t come close to compensating residents of Nevada for the environmental costs.”
“Mining exacts a huge toll on our environment as compared to cannabis,” Donnelly added. “And while Nevada cannabis consumers are on the hook for very high taxes, the fact that mining gets away with paying negligible taxes illustrates the unfair, preferential treatment our most environmentally destructive industry gets.”
In the last decade, Nevada’s mining industry has paid an annual average of $152 million in taxes, the Current found, however the average has declined to $124.4 million in the last five years.
Efforts to regulate the industry have failed to reach fruition. The Mining Oversight and Accountability Commission (MOAC), which was created in 2011, has not met since 2015.
Ryan McInerny, a spokesman for Gov. Steve Sisolak, said the governor has been working on appointment of members.
“The Mining, Oversight, and Accountability Commission (MOAC) does not have quorum to meet at this time, and the Governor is awaiting appointment recommendations, as outlined in statute,” McInerny said. “The Governor has two appointments for which he is directly responsible. Before making those appointments, applicants must be reviewed against the eventual list of recommended applicants provided by the Legislature to ensure that no more than two members have a direct or indirect financial interest in the mining industry.”