Washington brought in $70M in taxes on legal pot in one year

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Washington’s first year of legal marijuana sales has generated $70 million in tax revenue, a new report says.
 
That total follows the Evergreen State’s first stores selling the drug opening in July 2014, according to The Associated Press.
 
The AP said Washington now boasts 160 marijuana stores and sales topping $1.4 million daily.
 
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The state netted $250 million in sales of the plant during its first year of legal transactions. About $65 million of that haul stems from marijuana excise taxes.
 
The $70 million total in taxes for the state’s first year of sales includes all state and local sales and other taxes, the AP reported.
 
Washington initially predicted a windfall of $36 million in taxes for its debut year of sales.
 
The actual total still represents a major harvest in profits despite constituting only a fraction of Washington’s $38 billion budget for the next two years.
 
It also shows the potential windfall for legalized marijuana markets at the state level elsewhere.
 
Alaska, Colorado and Oregon are the only other states allowing the practice.
 
Colorado has so far reaped $44 million in taxes one year after implementing legal marijuana sales beginning on Jan. 1, 2014.
 
Washington, for its part, first legalized marijuana purchases for adults over 21 years old in 2012.
 
The state is now tweaking its regulatory and tax burdens for the controversial crop.
 
Washington currently has three excise-level taxes on marijuana. This month it is cutting that number down to one – a 37 percent tax on the plant.
 
Another law will tax and regulate medical marijuana separately for recreational purchases.
 
The new marijuana excise law shifts the burden of marijuana taxes from retailers to consumers.
 
Marijuana customers will now add the 37 percent fee to their purchases, while vendors will no longer have to report that money as income on their federal tax filings.
 
The AP said 25 percent of the crop is currently taxed as it moves between growers, producers and retailers in Washington.
 
Washington’s Liquor Control Board is next transforming into the Liquor and Cannabis Board for its new role regulating the drug.
 
It has already implemented background checks and financial inquiries into potential pot-license applicants.
 
Washington currently forbids the marketing of marijuana products that would expressly appeal to children, including cotton candy and gummi bears.
 
It also requires labeling and packaging requirements meant to keep youth from acquiring any marijuana-related products.

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