Single-year sales in Nevada top the $1 billion mark
Legal cannabis sales in Nevada topped more than $1 billion during the 2021 fiscal year, generating more than $157 million in tax revenues for the state.
According to an October report from the Nevada Department of Taxation, the state’s licensed recreational shops and medical dispensaries reported a total of $1,003,467,665 in sales during the fiscal year that ended in June 2021. The total is more than $300 million ahead of the previous year’s total of $684 million.
Clark County, home of Las Vegas, accounted for $791 million of the sales, an amazing 79% of the total. Despite reduced tourism due to the pandemic, Nevada sales never fell below $73 million in a single month, breaking the single-month sales record in April, a month in which more than $97.5 million in sales were made, more than double the total from the same month the year before.
Sales initially dipped during the early months of the pandemic with sales dropping as low as $41.9 million in April 2020. However, cannabis was deemed an essential business and retailers were able to pivot to home delivery and curbside pick-up. Las Vegas then reopened to tourists in July 2020.
Layke Martin, executive director of the Nevada Dispensary Association, heralded the additional tax revenues the industry added to the state’s Distributive School Account, which funds K-12 education across Nevada.
“The record-breaking amount of tax revenue generated by the cannabis industry for education is really something to celebrate,” Martin said in a press release.
More than half of Southern Oregon hemp samples test hot
Nearly 60% of Southern Oregon hemp samples tested by the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission came back positive for excessive levels of THC, including one sample that tested at a whopping 32%.
The results were announced in late September as part of Operation Table Rock, part of an effort launched in the summer of 2021 in which OLCC and Oregon Department of Agriculture inspectors randomly sampled plants to determine whether hemp growers in two counties were actually growing hemp or marijuana.
Preliminary test results confirmed that a substantial number of hemp growers were producing crops with higher than the legal THC level, which was set through emergency rules at 5%, a much higher level than the 0.3% THC allowed through federal law. Through mid-September, inspections were conducted at 316 state-registered hemp cultivation sites in Southern Oregon. Test results from 212 sites showed that 58% of the samples tested hot for THC (114 tested positive and 98 tested negative); the highest sample tested at 32.9% THC. The OLCC is awaiting test results from samples taken from 20 additional sites. Of the remaining sites inspectors visited, 59 had no crop growing, nine locations were growing marijuana and inspectors were denied entry at the remaining 16 locations.
In addition to the testing of cannabis plants, the OLCC observed instances of illegal water diversion, unfit workplace conditions and animal abuse; the OLCC referred those cases to the authorities responsible for those matters.
The OLCC plans to share its findings from Operation Table Rock with legislators.
— Brian Beckley
“Retailers, cultivators, producers and businesses up and down the supply chain, as well as the thousands of employees in the industry, should all be proud of the hard work and innovation that helped the industry bounce back from a challenging year.”
Recreational sales began in Nevada on July 1, 2017, after voters approved a ballot measure in November 2016.
— Brian Beckley
Salary report shows cannabis cultivation sector growing fast
Cultivation is now the fastest-growing sector of the cannabis industry, with salaries at every position increasing between 5% and 11% since last year alone, according to the 2021 Cannabis Cultivation Salary Guide from CannabizTeam, and those interested in finding work may want to consider a move to California.
“The U.S. cannabis cultivation market is projected to be valued at over $350 billion by 2027, which means enormous possibility for job creation and compensation increases,” CannaBizTeam CEO Liesl Bernard said in a press release.
According to the report, the U.S. cultivation market is projected to reach $358.8 billion by 2027. As better-capitalized operations continue to grow, the size and scale cultivation operations have increased “dramatically,” with the average square footage of cannabis production area growing from 18,200 square feet in 2016 to 33,900 square feet in 2021, with 18% of growers operating in spaces of at least 80,000 square feet. A full 58% of the cannabis grown in the United States in 2021 will be grown in California.
However, the company with the largest cultivation footprint at this point is New Mexico’s Ultra Health, with 9.2 million square feet of total growing area (including greenhouse, outdoor and indoor), more than three times the size of the second-largest operation, Colorado’s Mammoth Farms.
The report also details some of the jobs available in the sector and their median salaries: vice president of cultivation ($209,150); cultivation director ($139,750); cultivation manager ($105,000); cultivation tech ($60,000); and trimmer ($34,000). Salaries in all positions are increasing, from 5% at the trimmer level up to 11% at the top. A lack of “qualified talent,” however is causing an influx of workers from other industries, particularly the traditional agriculture sector.
“Jobs in the cultivation sector include some of the highest-paying positions in the industry, yet we also see vast opportunities for entry-level candidates,” said Bernard. “Executive roles like vice president of cultivation and director of cultivation have seen double-digit salary growth in the past year, but even entry-level roles like trimmers have continued to see steady, upward compensation growth.”
— Brian Beckley