The Nevada medical cannabis industry is about to launch, with dispensaries expected to open later this year. As with other states that allow cannabis sales for recreation and/or medical cannabis, Nevada is about to generate some serious tax revenue and create a significant amount of jobs. Cannabis has the potential to become Nevada's largest cash crop. Currently, alfalfa is Nevada's top cash crop.
Per the Las Vegas Review Journal:
High-grade alfalfa grown on farms throughout Northern Nevada earns about $100 profit per acre-foot of water. Golf courses in Las Vegas make about $5,000 to $7,000 per acre-foot of water. (UNLV soil and water Professor Dale) Devitt expects pot to dwarf those figures.
Marijuana is considered a drought-tolerant plant and doesn't require a significant amount of water to grow, said Derek Peterson, president of Terra Tech, an agricultural company that's applied for a marijuana cultivation license in Clark County. Terra Tech wants to open a 50,000-square-foot cultivation warehouse under a Las Vegas-based subsidiary called MediFarm LLC.
While it may be arguable exactly how drought resistant cannabis is, especially in Nevada's dry climate. Even indoor gardens, which will certainly be the primary way to grow in Nevada, will need a lot of water.
However, Mr. Peterson's claim that cannabis will be the top cash crop in Nevada sooner than later may certainly come to fruition. If/when Nevada goes fully legal in 2016, sales will increase dramatically compared to when medical cannabis sales start later this year. Hopefully federal reform comes soon, which will potentially allow importing of cannabis from areas that aren't as hard to grow in, and have more water than Nevada.