The first Nevada cannabis dispensary has been approved for operation at the border of Idaho, which makes it the first legal weed dispensary in the U.S. to operate on both sides of a state line.



The border between Nevada and Idaho is going to become a little greener. 

Elko County officials approved a plan for a marijuana dispensary to operate in Jackpot, Nevada, which is on the border between the two western states, last week.

According to the Associated Press, Elko County commissioners overwhelmingly authorized the business’s license, and the store may operate as early as Monday.

According to the Associated Press, Elko County Undersheriff Justin Ames stated during the commissioners’ meeting on Wednesday, “We have no problems going ahead with the license.”

According to the Elko Daily, the company, Thrive Cannabis Marketplace, “passed background checks” and “interviewed almost 60 applicants for employment in the dispensary, giving priority to Elko and Jackpot locals.”

According to the Elko Daily, 35 employees had been recruited and paid as of a month ago.

The closeness of the dispensary to Idaho, where marijuana is still banned, drew attention to the licensing procedure.

According to the Associated Press, the Thrive in Jackpot will be “Nevada’s first near the Idaho border,” and its opening has caused concern among Idaho criminal enforcement authorities.

According to the Associated Press, Twin Falls County commissioners “had expressed safety concerns about the dispensary on U.S. Highway 93, which links Jackpot with the town of Twin Falls” across the border from Jackpot.

The Idaho State Police stated in a statement that anybody “participating in unlawful conduct should be aware that they risk drawing law enforcement attention.”

Historically, conservative Idaho has been surrounded by neighbors who have embraced legalization: to the south, regulated marijuana sales began in 2017 in Nevada; to the west, sales began in 2014 and 2015 in Washington and Oregon, respectively; and to the east, Montana voters approved a ballot proposal last year to legalize recreational marijuana use for adults. 

The disparity in the rules has caused some consternation among Idaho officials—and, in some instances, increased border sales. 

The Oregon Office of Economic Analysis found that marijuana sales near the Oregon-Idaho border were approximately 420 percent higher than the statewide average in a study published last year—a statistical point that seemed almost too obvious.

“Obviously, recreational marijuana is not legal in Idaho,” Oregon Office of Economic Analysis economist Josh Lehner wrote in the report, “but even after throwing the data into a rough border tax model that accounts for incomes, number of retailers, tax rates, and the like, there remains a huge border effect.” “In counties near the Idaho border, about 75 percent of Oregon sales and more than 35 percent of Washington sales seem to be attributable to the border effect itself, rather by local socioeconomic conditions.”

Lehner observed that the increase in sales at the Oregon-Idaho border is likely connected to the existence of three shops along that state boundary, which may be a sign of things to come in Elko County, Nevada.

“Initially, the nearest stores to Idaho were in Baker County, Oregon,” Lehner said, “but that changed last summer.” “In Ontario, [Oregon] (Malheur County), which is directly on the border, there are now three stores.” These new shops are 30-60 minutes closer than Baker County businesses to any prospective consumers coming into Oregon along I-84. 

“As one would imagine, when these new shops in Malheur County opened, sales in Baker County plummeted by approximately 80%. The border effect has a knock-on effect in this case. Product availability, pricing, and taxes all important, as does proximity or distance traveled.”

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