The Nevada Department of Taxation (NDOT) recently released sales and tax data from the state’s legal cannabis market for March 2021. Total retail sales spiked month-over-month as COVID-related restrictions began to be lifted and tourism to Las Vegas expanded notably. Meanwhile, wholesale flower prices in March were fairly steady from the month 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.
March’s monthly revenue numbers are up 123.3% year-over-year, although it must be noted that March 2020’s sales dropped to abnormally low levels as the COVID-19 pandemic depressed international travel to Las Vegas and resulted in a lockdown of the state’s economy late in the month.
Of March’s sales, over $90.6 million was constituted by adult-use cannabis sales, or 93.6% of the total. Over $66.8 million in sales to general consumers in January made up 91.6% of total sales.
Sales of cannabis to medical patients, as well as any revenues from other goods, were relatively stable from February to March, at over $6.1 million in each month.
Data from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority for March shows that tourism numbers jumped from February to March as restrictions on businesses were relaxed or removed. Over 2.23 million tourists visited Las Vegas in March, up 44.8% from the over 1.54 million visitors counted in February. March 2021’s visitor numbers are up by 45.7% compared to March 2020. LVCVA data shows that tourism continued to increase in April. Going forward, with COVID-related restrictions largely done away with, tourism returning to normal levels should provide additional demand on top of the elevated purchasing by locals observed when the state’s hotels and casinos were shut down or operating at severely reduced capacity.
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 March rose by 2.1% from the prior month, to over $5.93 million, from over $5.81 million in January.
Although the modest increase in supply side sales and transfers did not nearly match the spike in demand, Nevada’s Spot Index was essentially stable from February to March. While prior data suggested a period of tight supply for Nevada’s market, producers do not have state-mandated production caps and are able to expand cultivation activities as needed to meet demand, facilities permitting.