WA State-Legal Cannabis Generates Billionth Dollar of Tax Revenue Today!

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WA State-Legal Cannabis Generates Billionth Dollar of Tax Revenue Today!

That was a bold statement … but it is my best estimate, I vouch for it and it is one that depends on only 4 things for it’s accuracy:

o   -the monthly sales totals published by the WSLCB (with associated excise tax data)

o   -arithmetic

o   -assumptions regarding average local sales tax  and federal business income tax rates

o   -assumption that the average day’s skim of taxes from the market seen in October by “The Man*” will be what “it” takes home each day during November.


Given that … I would like to announce that sometime today, WA state Legal Cannabis businesses will generate the 1 BILLIONTH dollar of tax revenue they have returned to civic coffers since the market’s inception in mid-2014.

To be precise, I believe that very early this afternoon (like around lunch-time), the total taxes collected on the revenue and sales of this industry will surpass $1,000,000,000.  Given the likely +/- associated with my estimation technique, I’ll simply declare that this will be happening at around 4:20 today.

With this FACT-ish statement in mind, I believe it is time for every single participant in this industry – including consumers and patients that source any of their product from the regulated system – to take a moment, call their State Reps (House and Senate) and inform them of this fact.  See if you get a thank-you (which you deserve).  Such courtesy is unlikely, but please know that it is deserved.

By bringing in this kind of revenue, the Legislators should try to nurture the industry (or, at least, not do dumbass things that obstruct it and are all too often harmful to the 20-30% of their constituents that directly participate in the industry).

While you are at it, let your Federal Representatives know, as well …. as about $229 million of the BILLION dollars in taxes that Washington State-legal Cannabis businesses will have generated by the end of the day will have gone to Federal Income Taxes paid by the very Cannabis businesses those Feds could close and seize if they so desired.

I’d like to make one suggestion to you if you are civic-minded enough to call your State Reps (and not overly slothful or crazy-busy today or in the next week or two).  Please also include in your brief discussion with your Rep or their staffer (or their voicemail) your desire to have them support, if not champion, the notion IN THE UPCOMING LEGISLATIVE SESSION, that unregulated homegrow being recognized as a right of every adult Washingtonian would  be a nice way for the Legislature to express it’s gratitude to the industry.  It would also address an existing emergency that is affecting many of their constituents in unfortunate ways.

No matter which way it is spun, the data show that Washington’s implementation of an integrated adult-use and medical market for State-legal Cannabis has failed many, if not most of the Patients in Washington that once depended on the Green-Cross dispensary system to supply medicines that played an important role in their health and/or medicinal needs.

When I see things like the LCB using the emergency rule statutes to do things like put into place increased charges for public records requests, and yet I see no indication whatsoever that they have attempted to request any Legislative assistance in addressing their abject failure to serve the needs of Washingtonians who depend upon a well-functioning regulated market to be able to supply their medicinal needs, I have to question their priorities.

That was a bit run-on, but it is important and it is true.  Current regulation is constrained by current legislation.  Something about that complex is harming Washington Patients today.  Over the past 18 months, given some of the disorders for which Cannabis is beneficial, it is quite likely that this regulatory/legal structure has resulted in avoidable deaths.  It has certainly led to avoidable discomfort, avoidable impacts on productivity, avoidable use of more harmful alternative treatments, and avoidable associated stress. 

It has resulted in avoidable negative impacts on public health and on public safety.

If folks in this State’s Governmental system can invoke emergencies for the smell of some flowers OR in support of the perceived need to introduce new financial barriers to transparency more rapidly than their dedicated rule-making staff can accommodate OR in response to the 4th consecutive 6-month update of their ongoing emergency deliberations on extending a local obstructionist land-use interpretation, THEN WHY THE FUCK CAN THIS STATE’S GOVERNMENT OR IT’S REGULATORS NOT RECOGNIZE THE EMERGENCY TO MMJ PATIENT CARE THAT IS UPON US AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT?

Particularly when their Cannabis market is well on it’s way to supply BILLIONS of additional dollars to the State Treasury.

I submit to you that, until they (The Man*) can do something about this issue within the constraints of their billion-dollar tax-generation machine, having the Legislature recognize Legal HomeGrow for ALL Adults in Washington State would go a long way toward addressing this emergency TODAY.  With no cost and, in the long term, a positive impact on tax revenue generation. 

In the meanwhile, remind them that the “it” that yells loudly and clearly that The Man’s* Billion-Dollar Tax Generation System is not meeting the needs of Patients includes (at least) the following:  few Patients signing up, little medical product on the market, no product at all of strains x, y and z, no medical access points nearby, no access points PERIOD nearby, a frigging REGISTRATION requirement to be a recognized Patient yet still be lacking such fundamental Patient rights as HIPAA protections and the right to go to school, taxing medicine with a 37% excise rate while requiring tests that make it more expensive to begin with, and allowing local authorities to continue their ignorant and harmful local obstructionist ways —- no-one should be allowed to ban pharmacies and/or clinics and/or homegrows from their jurisdiction — at least not in a state with legal Cannabis both for adult and for medical use.

That list is by no means exhaustive … please add anything specific that you think needs to be changed in the regulated system to benefit consumers and Patients (and industry participants) in your comments on this post.

Now that The Man* is benefitting in significant and tangible ways from this industry, why not demand that that very Man* stop hurting those most in need of the products a well-functioning Manregulated* market would be able to supply?

I am increasingly unsure of what America is really all about, but I still refuse to believe that our corner of America is willing to continue not only to allow vulnerable Patients to be harmed, but also to forsake the very real benefits, both financial/economic and civic that would accrue to Washington if it’s Legislative and Regulatory oversight were focused on nurturing this tax-generating machine as a new productive positive industry rather than forcing it into a hole and covering it with dirt.

For those who like detail, here is what the various arms of “The Man*” will have generated since the inception of Washington’s State-legal Cannabis market in mid 2014 through the end of business today : 

  • State Excise Tax               $706,082,548
  • State Sales Tax                $44,562,943
  • B&O Tax                           $3,328,314
  • Local Sales Tax                $16,875,373
  • Fed Income Tax (est)     $229,317,454
  • Total Taxes Generated  $1,000,166,631 … (through Nov 21 2017)

Always remember: You don’t have to kill Patients to make a buck.

*please note that many of those human beings that comprise “The Man” are not actually or exclusively of the male persuasion.

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