2 Nevada officials call for more pot tax funds for schools
LAS VEGAS — Two Las Vegas-area elected officials want more marijuana tax revenue to be used for education in Nevada, but Gov. Brian Sandoval says not to expect him to call a special session of the Legislature to take up the issue.
State Sen. Tick Segerblom, a Democrat who backed marijuana legalization in Nevada, and nonpartisan Las Vegas City Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian told reporters Monday that more marijuana tax revenues should go to school districts instead of the state’s rainy day fund.
Sandoval, a Republican “believes a special session is unnecessary as this is a policy discussion for the next session of the Legislature,” spokeswoman Mary-Sarah Kinner said in a statement.
A lawmaking session could be called before the next scheduled Legislature in 2019 by a petition signed by two-thirds of both Assembly and Senate members.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that Tarkanian and Segerblom want to tap surplus revenues from a 10 percent special sales tax on recreational marijuana purchases.
The state projected the tax would generate $13.6 million in the first seven months of legal recreational marijuana sales, which started last July. Actual numbers have been nearly $23 million.
Segerblom, who is a Clark County Commission candidate, noted that Question 2, the ballot measure voters approved in 2016 to legalize recreational marijuana in Nevada, earmarked money for education.
He said the $76 million special tax the state is projected to reap could help Clark County School District make up a $60 million budget deficit.
Marijuana is taxed at two levels: A 15 percent tax on wholesale cultivation of marijuana is often passed on to consumers in final prices, and 10 percent on the sale at dispensaries.
The wholesale tax pays state and local costs of regulating the industry, and the rest goes to the state schools fund.
The 10 percent retail tax has generated $22.8 million. Sandoval noted that the 2017 Legislature directed that money would go to the state reserve.