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Published on Friday, January 23, 2015

New proposal to share marijuana excise tax revenue introduced

There continues to be a flurry of marijuana related bills being introduced. Most notably this week SB 5417 was introduced which provides for revenue sharing with local governments.  The proposal, sponsored by Sen. Rivers (R-La Center) is one of AWC’s priorities. The bill shares 33% of the excise tax revenue collected by the state with cities and counties per a distribution model that provides funding for jurisdictions based in-part on how much marijuana revenue is generated in their community and also in-part on a per-capita basis for criminal justice purposes. The bill only provides revenue to jurisdictions that allow for the siting of marijuana businesses. Additionally, it allows for local authority for a city to modify the 1,000 foot buffer zone around certain uses. SB 5417 hasn’t yet been scheduled for a hearing. Please encourage your Senator(s) to support this legislation and ask for a hearing in the Senate Commerce & Labor Committee.

Also introduced this week were two bills that addressed flexibility in siting marijuana businesses:

  • HB 1411 allows a legislative body of a city or town to exempt certain land uses from the one thousand foot buffer from marijuana businesses if it is necessary for the creation of enough potential locations within the city or town of a marijuana retail facility and it will not negatively impact the jurisdiction's strong regulatory enforcement, law enforcement interests, public safety or public health.
  • HB 1413 reduces the buffer for marijuana businesses from 1,000 feet to 100 feet for the following uses: recreation center or facility, child care center, public park, public transit center, or library, or any game arcade admission to which is not restricted to persons aged twenty-one years or older.

Another bill would add additional uses to the 1,000 foot buffer criteria. HB 5450 adds churches, chemical dependency programs and other places where children generally congregate to the 1,000 foot buffer requirement. If passed, the new exclusions would be applied prospectively to new licensees and to renewals.

An alternative proposal to align medical and recreational marijuana was introduced by Sen. Kohl-Wells (D-Seattle) this week. SB 5519 takes a somewhat different approach from SB 5052 which had a public hearing on Thursday. Additionally, SB 5519 would require a public vote for a jurisdiction to prohibit marijuana businesses. We are still reviewing the proposal, but we expect that the eventual compromise legislation will contain aspects from both bills.

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