Nevada state Sen. Don Gustavson, R-Sparks, smells a sample of marijuana, Friday, March 24, 2017, as Christopher Price, a ''budtender'' at the Blum medical marijuana dispensary, describes the operation during a brief tour of the store in Reno, Nev. (Scott Sonner, Associated Press)

Nevada Senate Dems want to tax weed at higher rate than governor does

CARSON CITY, Nev. — Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday advanced a marijuana sales tax measure that goes farther than the Republican governor’s plan.

Gov. Brian Sandoval proposed in January that the state impose a 10 percent sales tax on recreational pot and send the revenue, expected to total $70 million over two years, to public schools.

The Senate Democrats’ measure would impose a 12 percent sales tax on all marijuana, with 10 percent going toward public schools and 2 percent funding substance abuse programs.

The bill would also raise taxes on medical marijuana growing facilities to the same 15 percent rate planned for recreational pot growers.

Medical marijuana sales and growers are currently taxed 2 percent.

“It was important that we have an efficient and streamlined taxation system that took into account medical marijuana and now recreational marijuana so that it was something that we could implement in the real world,” said bill sponsor Sen. Julia Ratti, a Democrat from the Reno suburb of Sparks.

The Senate Revenue and Economic Development Committee passed Senate Bill 487 on a party-line vote.

Nevada voters decided in November to allow people age 21 or older to use pot recreationally — becoming one of eight states to do so.

Recreational marijuana sales are expected to begin in July.