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Published on Friday, April 17, 2015

Marijuana revenue sharing bill under consideration in the Senate

The Senate is now considering E2SHB 2136 which passed the House on April 10. The bill still needs work to meet the needs of cities on marijuana revenue sharing. We are asking the Senate for the following changes to the bill:

  • Increase marijuana funding to local governments
    Cities appreciate that legislators see the need to share a portion of the marijuana excise tax with cities; however, $6 million per year is not enough to cover the costs associated with legalization. Cities and counties are asking for 10% of the overall excise tax revenue.
  • Remove local regulatory pre-emption
    The House added an amendment that requires a public vote prior to a Council adopting a moratorium or prohibition on marijuana businesses. Local City Councils are accountable to their citizens and best positioned to make local decisions that fit the needs of their voters.  This is an unnecessary pre-emption of existing local regulatory authority.
  • Revise the distribution model
    The bill currently restricts revenue sharing to only those jurisdictions with licensed retailers during the first two years. It then transitions to a more inclusive revenue sharing model preferred by cities and counties. Because the initial revenue sharing approach leaves out cities that are home to growers and processors, as well as cities that haven’t had a licensee opt to locate in their jurisdiction, we are asking that the legislature use the distribution model developed by cities and counties from the outset.
  • Remove the sunset
    The bill contains a sunset provision the means that revenue sharing ends in 2022. So even if we can make headway in eliminating the illicit market, cities would no longer have the resources necessary to maintain that progress after 2022. It would be a shame to waste this investment by ending it arbitrarily after only a few years. – An amendment to remove the sunset passed the House, but due to a conflict with other amendment language, it was nullified.

Please continue to reach out to your Senators and share the message of why your city needs revenue, and what the impact of marijuana is on your community. Ask them to support providing 10% of the total marijuana excise tax revenue with local governments and ask them to support local authority to regulate marijuana businesses.

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