Nevada Cannabis Sales Reach Record High Despite Lag in Tourism Photo by Mike Swigunski on Unsplash
April 6, 2021

The Nevada Department of Taxation (NDOT) recently released sales and tax data from the state’s legal cannabis market for January 2021. Total retail sales reached a new record high for the state’s market to open this year. Meanwhile, wholesale prices in January were elevated significantly from December 2020, as well as from the same month a year prior.

According to NDOT data, Nevada cannabis retailers generated the following monthly revenue figures in the most recent three months for which data is available. The sales numbers below include both retail sales of adult-use and medical cannabis.

Total Retail Cannabis Sales (Adult-Use & Medical) – Trailing 3 Months

January’s monthly revenue numbers are up 30% year-over-year. Last year at this time, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., Nevada’s January 2020 sales represented a roughly 20% uptick from the same month the year before. As in several other state markets, early signs are that the expanded demand for legal cannabis that manifested during the pandemic may be here to stay in Nevada.

Of January’s sales total, over $75.2 million was constituted by adult-use cannabis sales, or 90.2% of the total. Over $68.6 million in sales to general consumers in December made up 92% of total sales.

Sales of cannabis to medical patients, as well as any revenues from other goods, rose to over $8.1 million in January, up from over $5.9 million in December.

Data from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority for January shows that tourism numbers ticked up from December, but remain very depressed. Over 1.29 million tourists visited Las Vegas in January 2021, up from the over 1.24 million visitors counted in December 2020. January 2021’s visitor numbers are still down by 63.5% compared to January 2020. This indicates that the record sales documented in the first month of this year could see significant expansion as the pandemic subsides with more widespread vaccinations and monthly tourist figures to Las Vegas presumably return to their pre-COVID levels of roughly 3.5 million monthly.

On the production side, Nevada’s 15% wholesale excise tax applies to transfers of product in both the adult-use and medical sectors of the state’s legal cannabis industry. Receipts from the state’s supply-side excise tax in January fell by 7.9% from the prior month, to over $5.62 million, from over $6.1 million in December.

Nevada’s Spot Index climbed through January after leveling off momentarily in December. In January 2021, the state’s average composite price was up 9.2% from the month prior. Recent sales and tax data, along with our wholesale price assessments, continue to indicate relatively tight supply in Nevada, especially compared to a year ago. January 2021’s average state Spot price is up 17.8% from January 2020.