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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Cannabis Industry Update in Washington State

There is much talk about where funds go from legal state marijuana sales. Some are still dealing with inequality in the pot industry, however. Mayor Harrell has recently signed legislation to improve equity in the local cannabis industry. The law is for those who have been shut out. In addition to equity, the state of Washington has needs that are met through taxes received from sales. 

The federal government has still refused to reform the banking system around the industry. This makes it a heavy cash set-up around the state where weed is sold. That is dangerous due to potential criminal activity. 

Many feel that it is all worth it for the city since revenues are needed. Marijuana tax revenue goes to Washington’s public education system.

OSPI receives about $520,000 a year from marijuana tax revenue, however the taxes were not originally earmarked to go toward education.

Washington state voters opted to legalize recreational marijuana a decade ago in 2012. The state collected over $559 million in legal marijuana income and license fees in 2021, according to the Washington State Treasurer. The Office of Financial Management and OSPI said roughly $520,000 a year goes directly to OSPI from the state’s “dedicated marijuana account.” 

The funds are used to support schools in developing comprehensive student support systems. This means help for students who are at risk of disengaging from school and also students who have left school to reengage them back into the educational system. The rest of the money from the marijuana tax is distributed to a number of places including the state’s general fund, which does give money to schools, but there’s no way to know how much and it has no direct tie to the marijuana tax revenue.

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