Washington reported Friday that stores within the state sold a little less than $3.8 million worth of grass during the first month retail sales of marijuana were legal there and that it expects to rake in more than $1 million in taxes. Just 18 of the 40 stores that have been issued licenses sold pot in July and only 16 of them have sold it in August, the Associated Press said.
“It's off to a healthy start, considering that the system isn't fully up and running yet,” said Brian Smith, a representative of the Washington State Liquor Control Board.
Colorado collected close to $2 million in excise and sales taxes during the first month retail sales of marijuana were legal in that state.
Washington is following Colorado’s model of taxing marijuana in two ways, via excise taxes and sales taxes.
Excise taxes are assessed at three different points in the process bringing the marijuana from producer to consumer. The first tax is charged when a grower transfers the grass to a processor. The second tax is charged when the processor transfers the pot to a retailer. The third tax is charged when the retailer sells the weed to a consumer. The tax rate at each of the three points is 25 percent.
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The Washington Legislature has forecast marijuana tax collections will amount to $122 million during the next two-year state budget cycle, which begins in July 2015, AP reported.
Meanwhile, Colorado has collected $29.8 million in all marijuana-related taxes and fees since recreational sales became legal in January. About $23.7 million worth of recreational marijuana was sold there in June, AP said, citing state statistics.