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Published on Friday, February 28, 2014

Cities continue to speak out on need for marijuana revenue

This week we delivered a letter to the Governor and Legislators from more than 90 cities reminding them of the need to provide local government with marijuana revenue. Thank you to all of those who signed onto the letter which now has over 100 signatures. We must continue to deliver the message to legislators about the importance of funding local governments who are in charge of addressing local impacts of marijuana legalization.

Unfortunately, even as we continue to work to move SB 5887 (which would reconcile medical and recreational marijuana and provide funding to local governments), it has become increasingly clear that the legislature will not take action on sharing marijuana revenue this session.

However, funding for the patient registry created by SB 5887 was referenced in the Senate budget so reconciliation of the two systems continues to be an important part of the discussion. Additionally, SB 2149 which also reconciles medical and recreational marijuana is included in the House version of the Budget. HB 2149 is awaiting action in the Senate Ways & Means Committee. Since both bills address the same issue, only one will advance for full action.

New bill proposes committee to look at marijuana issues

We are pleased to see SB 6542 introduced by Senator Janéa Kohl-Welles (D-Seattle). SB 6542 creates the temporary State Cannabis Industry Coordinating Committee to develop a state comprehensive plan to identify and coordinate cannabis-related business opportunities, develop a method to assess the economic impact of the industry, examine any relevant changes in federal law, and recommend options for distributing tax revenue from marijuana.

The committee includes the following:

  • Two members of the Senate;
  • Two members of the House of Representatives;
  • One representative of the departments of Health, Commerce, Revenue, Agriculture, and Financial Institutions, the State Treasurer's Office, and the Liquor Control Board;
  • Two representatives of Association of Washington Cities and the Association of Counties; and
  • Nine industry stakeholders appointed by the Governor.

This bill will likely be heard in the Senate Ways & Means Committee on Monday. AWC supports this effort.

From a rush for gold, to green. CNBC explores tax revenues from marijuana

CNBC has a special report called "Marijuana in America – Colorado Pot Rush" examining the marijuana industry in Colorado. According to a related AP article, Pueblo County’s annual revenue from a 3.5% sales tax and what they call share-backs from the state, was projected to be about $400,000. This is a result of $1 million in sales the first month from their one store. Now the projection is $670,000 annually for the county. The CNBC report is an interesting look at the first two months of legalized marijuana in Colorado and worth checking out.