Washington State is doing everything it can to get its legal marijuana program up and running. Although the state legalized recreational marijuana more than two years ago, more than 100 cities have passed legislation that prevents legal marijuana businesses from opening up.
Lawmakers may have found a solution
Lawmakers in the state, however, think that they have found a solution to the problem. They plan to propose sharing marijuana tax revenues with the cities and counties. In return, these cities and counties would allow licensed marijuana businesses to open up in their jurisdictions.
This approach worked to some degree in Colorado, said Kevin Bommer, the deputy director of the Colorado Municipal League. In Colorado, three-quarters of the state’s 281 cities ban marijuana businesses.
“It definitely made a difference,” he said Monday. “Without it, you would not have as many municipalities in Colorado approving retail marijuana sales.”
Number of cities ban marijuana businesses
In 2012, Washington’s legal pot law, Initiative 502, passed with 56 percent of the vote. But Officials in many cities, however, have imposed bans on the marijuana businesses. Courts have upheld the cities’ authority to do so.
One city, Poulsbo, adopted an outright ban on marijuana businesses even though a majority of voters approved the legal marijuana legislation. Councilman Ed Sterns said the ban was motivated entirely by the lack of revenue sharing.
Councilman Sterns serves on the Board of the Association of Washington Cities, which is an organization that was formed to press the state to share liquor revenue after prohibition ended in the 1930s. He said that the local governments get a cut of liquor revenue, and if the same is done with marijuana, then you would see more cities approve it. Sterns said he’d urge Poulsbo to reconsider its ban if the state shared the tax revenue generated off of marijuana.
Success of the program
In July 2014, the first legal marijuana businesses opened up in Washington. Since then, the state has collected over $20 million in marijuana related taxes. In Colorado, local governments received $6 million in sales and excise taxes out of the $50 million generated by the state.
There is a lot of work to be done in Washington regarding the current legal marijuana program that is in place, but the situation may be resolved soon. Mushroomstocks has seen such roadblocks resolved by monetary policy and we expect this issue to be resolved in a similar manner