California launches recreational pot sales, Nevada wary of black-market fallout

CANNABIS COUNTDOWN | We are digging into the impacts the legal recreational marijuana market could have on Nevada. (Nathan O'Neal | KSNV)

California cashed in on its first recreational marijuana sales on Jan. 1, which is poised to become the nation’s largest legal pot industry. However, industry experts don’t believe California’s venture into legal marijuana sales will negatively affect Nevada’s budding business.

Nearly 100 recreational marijuana stores are now ready to open for business but some areas like Los Angeles are still facing licensing hurdles.

“I think you're really getting ready to see over in California it's going to be an absolute train wreck relative to what we've seen here,” said John Mueller of Acres Cannabis, which is located in Las Vegas.

RELATED | New year brings broad pot legalization to California

Mueller said Nevada is still the gold standard for regulating cannabis but he doesn’t anticipate a major negative effect from California competition.

“I don't see a big impact -- they've had marijuana there for two decades now,” said Mueller.

It’s estimated that California produces eight times more pot than is consumed in the state. Most of that black-market weed is trafficked across America and could be up to 80 percent of black-market cannabis consumed in the United States.

Black-market marijuana continues to be a major concern for legitimate Las Vegas marijuana businesses.

“I think the only thing that we all have to be cautious of is there's a tremendous amount of black market that's leaving that state right now and keeping that out of our state and every other state for that matter,” said Mueller.

While recreational pot might be legal in both California and Nevada, it’s worth noting that it is still illegal to drive it across state lines.

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