New projections say marijuana's economic impact in Nevada will be bigger than previously thought – The Nevada Independent

A man, asking to be identified only as Junior, selects marijuana products inside Exhale Nevada dispensary in Las Vegas on Friday, April 20, 2018. Daniel Clark/The Nevada Independent

A Nevada consulting firm has bumped up its predictions of how much economic benefit legal marijuana will bring the state in the first seven full years of recreational sales.

RCG Economics released a report Friday that predicts legalized marijuana will produce $8 billion in direct, indirect and induced economic benefits from 2018 through 2024. The report was commissioned by the Nevada Dispensary Association, a marijuana trade group, and reflects a more robust industry than RGC’s 2016 report, which had predicted $7.5 billion in economic benefit over the same period.

“The industry starts getting increasingly stabilized so you have that growth, and then you have the growth in tourism,” said John Restrepo, principal at RGC Economics, about why the new predictions are higher than the earlier ones. “We were very conservative. We used Colorado numbers and other numbers … we just didn’t have anything to base it on.”

The economic impact calculations include direct benefits (such as expenses to set up a marijuana business and employee wages), indirect benefits (when the marijuana industry’s suppliers make purchases of their own), and induced benefits (economic growth that comes as marijuana industry employees spend their money in Nevada and benefit other businesses).

The firm also upgraded its predictions on the number of jobs that the industry will create. It now projects the industry will employ 10,200 people in Nevada by the year 2024; the study two years ago pegged that number at 6,200.

Government will also benefit from the industry — marijuana is expected to generate more than $1 billion in taxes over seven years, with the bulk of the revenue coming from sales and excise

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